Skip to main content

Full text of "About ISLAM Books pdf in English"

See other formats



Studies in World Religions 

edited by 
Jane I. Smith 

Studies in World Religions publishes monographs, translations, and collections of essays by 
persons who have been or are affiliated with Harvard's Center for the Study of World 
Religions, as well as proceedings of Center-sponsored conferences and colloquia. 

Editorial Board 

John Mbiti Frederick J, Streng 

Wendy O'Flaherty Jacques Waardenburg 

Willard Oxtoby Holmes Welch \ 

Mahinda Palihawadana R. J, Zwi Werblowsky 

Fazlur Rahman John Alden Williams 

George Rupp 

Number 1_ 

A Translation from the Arabic 

Jane Idleman Smith 

Robert N. Bellah 
H. Byron Earhart 
Norvin Hein 
S. A. Kamali 
Shigeru Matsumoto 


A Translation 
from the Arabic 

jane Idleman Smith 

Scholars Press 

Distributed by 
Scholars Press 
PO Box 5207 
Missoula, Montana 59806 

A Translation from the Arabic with Notes 
of the 

Kitab al-Durra al-Fakhira ft Kashf c Ulum al-Akhira 
of Abu Hamid Muhammad b. Muhammad b. Muhammad 


Jane Idleman Smith 

Copyright ©1979 

The President and Fellows of Harvard College 


Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data 

al-Ghazzali, 1058-1111. 

The precious pearl. 

(Monograph series - Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard University ■ no 1) 
Translation of al-Durrah al-fakhirah f! kashf 'ulum al-Akhirah. 

Bibliography: p. 

Includes index. 

1. Future life (Islam) 2. Judgement Day (Islam) I. Title. II. Series: Harvard University. 
Center for the Study of World Religions. Monograph series - Center for the Study of World 
Religions, Harvard University ; no. 1. 

BP166.8.G4713 1979 297'.23 79-140 

ISBN 0-89130-278-6 
ISBN 0-89130-305-7 pbk. 

Printed in the United States of America 
1 2 3 4 5 
Edwards Brothers, Inc. 

Ann Arbor, MI 48104 



INDEX 119 


One of the valuable products of the mid-twentieth 
century's increased concern for the comparative history 
of world religions is the correspondingly increased 
availability of many documents and works hitherto access- 
ible only to scholars of particular traditions. At the 
same time that comparative studies are proliferating on 
a variety of topics, the large number of translations of 
sacred and secondary texts allows students of the history 
of religion to enhance their understanding by the exami- 
nation of primary source materials. It is hoped that the 
following translation of a text thus far unavailable to 
Western students in English will help to supplement the 
growing pool of translations of Islamic works. 

The text used was that from which Lucien Gautier 
made his French translation La Perle Precieuse de Ghazall 
(see Introduction below) . Any material added to the text 
in the way of brief explanation, verse references to the 
Qur'an, addition of an Arabic word in question or its 
alternative translations, has been given in square 
brackets. Round brackets are used for that material 
actually in the text but which seems to be a kind of 
aside or footnote or interruption of the narrative of 
the author himself. Verses or parts of verses from the 
Qur'an (given in the Arabic, of course, without punctu- 
ation) are set off in the translation by round brackets 
and stars, with the reference in square brackets 

following to the location of the material in the Azhar 
1337 edition of the Qur'an (S signifying Sura). Unless 
otherwise stated, all page references in the supplemen- 
tary materials are to the pages of the text itself rather 
than to the page numbers of this translation; the page 
numbers of the text are inserted into the body of the 
translation between parallel lines. 



would like to express my gratitude to the members 
of the Editorial Board of -studies in World Religions", 
and to Ellen Lieberson and William Darrow of the staff 
of the Center for the Study of World Religions, for their 
contribution to the preparation of this work for publi- 
cation. I am especially grateful to John Alden Williams 
or reading the text and offering valuable suggestions. 
Needless to say, I am responsible for the form in which 
the translation now stands, as well as for any errors 
that it might contain. 

Jane I. Smith 
Harvard University 



There are no major religions of the world that do 
not have a concern for questions of life after death, 
although many do not treat it in as detailed a way as 
have the theologians and traditionists of Islam. The 
Qur'an, of course, leads the way with a startling reve- 
lation of a cataclysmic eschaton and judgment of indi- 
vidual souls radically opposed to the vague and often 
contradictory beliefs of pre-Islamic Arabia. Thus we 
read in sura 16:38, tThey [those of the pagan Arabs who 
scoffed at the message of the Prophet] swear to the 
limit of their oaths that God will not raise up again 
those who die....?. But the assurance of the Qur'an is 
that twhen the sun is folded up, and the stars fall down, 
and when the mountains are set in motion. . .when the seas 
are fired up to a boil... when the scrolls are laid open, 
when the sky is torn away, when the Fire is kindled and 
the Garden is brought nigh, then shall a soul know what 
it has prepared [for itself ]. f [S 81:1-14] 

The Qur'anic descriptions of these events have been 
greatly elaborated by the traditions, and many details 
have been supplied there that are lacking in the account 
of the Book. Some of these are supported by strong and 
reliable chains of transmission, while many are consid- 
ered by scholars of Islam to be weak and of dubious 
authenticity. Such lack of scholarly sanction, however, 
has done little to discourage their acceptance into the 
general fabric of beliefs of many generations of faithful 
Muslims. Even today one finds that rationalism, skep- 
ticism, and the rejection of taqlZd [uncritical accep- 
tance of tradition] do not deter many a pious Muslim from 
affirming the realities of the chastisement of the grave 
and the physical pleasures of the Garden. 

As a self-consciously historical religion, Islam 
bases its well-developed conceptions of the afterlife 




upon a clear framework of the understanding of time and 
its progression. In this context the descriptions of 
events occurring in relation to individuals and communi- 
ties after death fall into two categories: (1) those 

coming between individual death and final resurrection 
and (2) the series of events that signals the end of 
historical time, namely the arrival of the eschaton or 
the Hour, the specifics of individual judgment and con- 
signment to felicity or perdition that marks the tran- 
sition from time to eternity. For the most part the 
detailed particulars of both periods are non-Qur'anic 
and their articulation- has undergone a series of addi- 
tions, revisions, and modifications. It is in the first 


category, however, that one might look for the most 
obvious incursions of local beliefs and attitudes into 
the general fabric of Islamic theology. The Qur'an 
itself is so articulate and impressive in its charac- 
terization of the occurrences of the second period that 
the traditions have been able to add only detail, not 
drama, to it. Some details elaborate, some are specif- 
ically new. 

The Qur'an has long been available to Western 
readers in translation. Anyone who has read the original 
Arabic, however, can understand and appreciate the 
general Muslim feeling that on the theological plane 
as God's word and revelation it is ultimately untransla- 
table, and that on the linguistic level the richness 
and versatility of the Arabic make an adequate rendering 
into another language extremely difficult. Nonetheless, 
the general outline of the Qur'anic instruction con- 
cerning eschatology has been understood by non-Arabic 
students of Islam. This has been much less true of the 
materials concerning the period immediately after death 
and the elaboration of details on the eschaton. Tradi- 
tions have been cited randomly and full texts on the 
theme of the afterlife have been difficult of access. 

Several happy exceptions to this, however, have 
been extant for about a century. One is the German 
translation by M. Wolff of an anonymous work entitled 
Kitab ah wal al-giyama (published in Leipzig in 1892 as 
Muhammedanische Eschatologie ) . The material in this 
text deals primarily with popular traditions concerning 
resurrection, judgment, and descriptions of the Garden 
and the Fire. (This work is identical in almost every 
detail with Imam c Abd al- Rahim ibn Ahmad al-Qadi's 
Daga'ig al-akhbar fl dhikr al-janna wa'1-nar , translated 
into English by c A'isha c Abd al-Rahman and published 
under the title The Islamic Book of the Dead , 1977.) 

The other major work available in a Western transla- 
tion is the French rendering by Lucien Gautier of the 
present text attributed to Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, pub- 
lished originally in 1878 as La Perle Precieuse de 
Ghazall. (A German translation of this same text was 
made by M. Brugsch, entitled Die kostbare Perle fiber 
Tod und Jenseits . ) Recently large portions of John 
Macdonald's translation of Abu'l-Layth al-Samarqandl ' s 
eleventh century hijrl manuscript on death and resurrec- 
tion, Kitab h aga'iq al-daqa'iq with accompanying inter- 
pretations have been made available in the journal 
Islamic Studies (1964-65) . This last is a particularly 
welcome addition to Western scholarship, as it provides 
English speaking students with a readable translation 
put into the context of a well-documented analysis of 
the factors contributing to the development of this kind 
of eschatological literature. 

It is the intention of the present translation of 
the Durra al-fakhira not necessarily to improve on that 
done by Gautier, but rather to make available to those 
for whom English is the primary language a text extremely 
important for an understanding of Islamic eschatology. 
Many students of religion in general, who are not neces- 
sarily specialists in the study of Islam, are coming to 
be interested in the comparative study of original texts. 



It seems particularly important not only to provide them 
with materials that illustrate individual points of the- 
ology and tradition, but to supplement those materials 
with some basic information about the religion of Islam 
in general. The notes to the following translation at- 
tempt to make the text comprehensible to the general 
reader as well, hopefully, as instructive to the special- 
ist. As more texts from other traditions are translated 
and analyzed, the student of comparative conceptions of 
the afterlife will have an increasingly rich store of 
primary materials available in English. 

Perhaps no figure in the history of Islamic theology 
and philosophy has so captured the imagination of non- 

Muslims as has Abu Hamid Muhammad b. Muhammad b. Muhammad 
_ __ • • • • 
al-Ghazali of Tus (450/1058-505/1111). Revered by Mus- 
lims throughout the ages, al-Ghazali also has been dis- 
claimed by such groups as certain of the philosophers 
and the Batiniya. He demonstrated in his life and 
thought a breadth of knowledge and concern which in it- 
self perhaps led to some of the criticism leveled against 
him by his co-religionists. To the philosophers he was 
a theologian, to the theologians he often showed himself 
too deeply concerned with philosophy; and though he found 
the goal of his agonizing quest for truth in the fold of 
Islamic mysticism, he has seldom been classed with the 
greatest or most profound of the Sufis. Nevertheless he 
is generally recognized by Muslims and non-Muslims alike 
as the great reconciler of divergent trends in Islam, 
whose skill in rational analysis and theological dispu- 
tation combined with his intense personal piety have sel- 
dom been equalled in any one person. 

Largely because of al-Ghazali' s own characterization 
in his autobiography Munqidh min al-dalal , it has been 
popular to view his life as a series of encounters with 
dominant trends in Islamic thinking. This is tradi- 
tionally seen as ending with the great realization that 

it is only through dhauq , the "taste” of the mystical 
experience, that final satisfaction is attained. The 
actual progression of events in his life, however, was 
not nearly so clear-cut. He lived at a time when 
Isma c ill Shl c ism was a political as well as ideological 
threat to Sunni orthodoxy and when the encounters be- 
tween falsa fa and kalam (which can only somewhat loosely 
be translated as philosophy and scholastic theology) 
were sharp and somewhat virulent. His earliest education 
was at the hands of a Sufi friend of his father, and the 
lessons there learned seem never to have left him. The 
crowning work of a prolific, as well as personally agon- 
izing, career is the magnificant Ih ya 1 c ulum al-din , or 
Revivification of the Sciences of Religion . 

It is interesting to note that many of the details 
recited in the Durra al-fakhira seem to be a repetition 
or reworking of material presented first in the last book 
of the Ih ya ' , as the author himself indicates frequently 
in the text. This tells us, of course, that the Durra 
was written after the Ih ya 1 , if indeed by al-Ghazali, 
toward the end of the author's career and life. Western 
scholars have been far from unanimous in attributing 
authenticity to this work as actually coming from the pen 
of al-Ghazali. M. Asin Palacios ( La Espiritualidad de 
Alqazal ) and W. Montgomery Watt ("The authenticity of 
the words attributed to al-Ghazali", JRAS 1952) , for ex- 
ample, feel that apparent inconsistency with some of al- 
Ghazali 's other works is sufficient to warrant skepti- 
cism; Hava Lazarus-Yafeh is even stronger in her opinion 
that the Durra must not be considered to be among the 
works of al-Ghazali ( Studies in al-Ghazzali ) . Others 
such as Margaret Smith ( Al-Ghazali the Mystic ) , Ignaz 
Goldziher ( Die Richtunqen der islamischen Koranauslegung ) 
and Lucien Gautier opt for its authenticity, as do most 
contemporary Muslim scholars. The present introduction 
is presented on the assumption that, recent Orientalist 
scholarship notwithstanding, the Durra reasonably may be 


seen as consonant with, if not an exact record of, al- 
Ghazali's thoughts on questions of ethical responsibility 
and the afterlife. Whether or not it came from the same 
source as the Ih ya 1 , it stands as a classical example of 
a medieval manual on matters of life after death, and 
one that centuries of Muslims have attributed to Abu 
Hamid . 

The narrative of the Durra is an interesting combi- 
nation of flow and digression, as if the author were 
trying to communicate a basic theme but were actually 
more concerned with the supporting materials than with 
the main message of the text. For the most part, little 
background is needed to grasp what is being expressed. 

A word, however, ought to be said about the understand- 
ing of the structure of the universe and levels of real- 

The Qur'an speaks several times of the basic seven- 
fold structure of the heavens: fHe it is Who created 

the seven heavens J 1 [S 67:3]; tWe have built over you 

the seven firmaments [sab a an shidadan] . . .f [S 78:12], 

The author of this text (whom for purposes of convenience 
we will here assume to be al-Ghazall) recognizes this 
structure, and explicitly makes reference to it in his 
descriptions of the journey of the soul immediately after 

• Q - . 

death through the seven heavens, based on the rm raj 
or heavenly night journey of the Prophet. Later he de- 
scribes the angels of the seven heavens surrounding the 
dead in concentric circles at the time of resurrection. 
More important to the development of his text than this, 
however, is the idea of the three worlds or planes of 
existence. In the beginning of the Durra he makes ref- 
erence to the earthly world [al- c alam al-dunyawl] and to 
the malakuti and jabarutl (see note 4 of the text below) 
worlds. The first refers to Adam and his descendants 
and the three classes of animals. The second is com- 
prised of the angels and jinn and the third of the elect 
among the angels. 


Now the fact of a tripartite division of reality as 
well as of spiritual states is common to much of al- 
Ghazall ' s writing. But it is interesting to note the 
order in which he places them in the Durra (which might 
well be adduced as another argument for its non-authen- 
ticity as a work of al-Ghazall) . In the Ihya' the gen- 
eral understanding is that the earthly world is the world 
of sense perception, the second or intermediate or celes- 
tial world (the world of the traveller on the way who 
has made some progress but not yet reached his destina- 
tion) is called °alam al-jabarut , and the divine world, 
the highest of the three, is the °alam al-malakut. In 
the Durra, however, the more common Islamic ranking of 
these spheres is followed, placing the jabarutl realm as 
the highest. Thus it is in the malakuti world that are 
found those modalities of judgment that are too gross 
for the highest and most spiritual world, but whose re- 
ality al-Ghazall does not want actually to deny, such as 
the balance and the existence of the Qur'an and Islam 
and Friday as personalities. (This is not unambiguous, 
however, for we also find the Qur'an has a jabarutl ex- 
istence as a personality.) The designations, of course, 
are in themselves not significant, and in fact they are 
occasionally interchanged by other writers such as the 
Neo-Platonic philosophers al-Farabl and Ibn Sina, by 
whom al-Ghazall was influenced. The point of note is 
the way in which cosmology is coordinated with the spir- 
itual journey for al— Ghazali, and how he uses the inter- 
mediate level as a means of giving credence to aspects 
of the judgment which are difficult to reconcile with a 
more deeply mystical understanding . 

The author of this text clearly accepts the basic 
articles of faith concerning the life after death to 
which Islamic orthodoxy gives credence. The writing in 
general does not reflect much in the way of esoteric in- 
terpretation; in the tripartite structure, however, one 
finds room for the mystical understanding that passes 



beyond the particulars dominating the traditional Muslim 
treatment of eschatology. As he expressly states in the 
text (pp. 69-70) he does not actually favor an allegori- 
cal interpretation of the hadZth s relating to the judg- 
ment, and certainly never denies the reality of the Gar- 
den or the Fire. If one put this work in the context of 
others of al-Ghazall's writings, particularly the Ihya 1 , 
it would appear that he holds in balance the zahir and 
the batin, the exoteric and the esoteric understandings 
of reality. For al-Ghazali the Fire and the Garden are 
finally to be understood as mystical states of separa- 
tion from or union with God, although this is far from 
explicit in this particular work. 

The Durra , in fact, actually stops short of any real 
consideration of the nature of heaven and hell, more ac- 
curately expressed in their exact translation as the Gar- 
den and the Fire. Both are present in their personified 
forms at the awesome time of the judgment, but conspic- 
uously absent are the descriptions of the pavilions of 
paradise and the sensual pleasures of the hur so evident 
in most eschatological writings, as well as many specif- 
ics of the torments of damnation. The author himself 
offers no obvious explanation of this; it is as if the 
reader were led through the progression of personal his- 
tory (the immediate experiences in the tomb after death) 
and the communal history (in the final events of the ar- 
rival of the Hour and the judgment) , but cut off from 
narrative at the precise point where history becomes 
eternity — where, in fact, no more moral and ethical 
lessons can be drawn. 

Here, it seems, may lie the real explanation of the 
author's approach to the material and his continual in- 
terruption of the text to offer specific cases and ex- 
amples. Gautier in his introduction says, "Dans la 
Dourra , il a voulu probablement reproduire sous une 
forme plus brdve et plus populaire ses enseignements 
relatif s £ la vie future." (p. xvi) It seems equally 

apparent, however, that the author was presenting a ser- 
ies of ethiqal teachings that are intended less as de- 
scriptions of the future life than as injunctions for 
the living of this life in order to be ready for the 
events of the Day and the Hour. This is not to say that 
he fails to elaborate in extremely graphic terms events 
that will come to pass. His description of God’s appear- 
ance on the day of resurrection, twirling the heavens 
and the earths on His fingertips crying, "I am the King whom belongs the kingdom today if not to me:" is 
tremendously exciting narrative. But behind it all one 
senses the equally powerful urgency to impress upon his 
readers the need to stop and make a decision now as to 
how to live life, as al-Ghazili himself was so dramati 
cally forced to do when God took from him his own power 
of speech and he had to retire from his teaching. The 
text is almost deceptively straightforward, but the clues 
to this kind of urgency can be found in such simple 
asides as his injunction (p. 28) to "Do the work to 
which God has guided you, that there may be a special 
camel [the beast created out of one's good works that 
carry him to the resurrection] for you alone, and know 
that such is a profitable enterprise:" 

* * * 

There are a number of versions of this text en- 
titled al-Durra al-fakhira fl c ulum al- akhira (see 
Brockelmann, GAS, S 1 746). To Lucien Gautier, in his 
French translation La Perle Precieuse , goes the credit 
for having worked through eight separate manuscripts 
(see pp. xi-xvi of his introduction for a description 
of these texts and their variations) . His own transla- 
tion was based on a collation of these several manu- 
scripts; the text so established is printed with the 
French translation, with extensive footnotes indicating 
possible alternative readings. Western scholarship over 
the last century has taken his compilation and transla- 



tion to be as lucid and as accurate a rendering of the 
author's original work as we reasonably can hope to 
attain. This present translation into English, then, 
is of the text he offers as representing a majority 
opinion of the several manuscripts with which he worked, 
taking into consideration as well the possible varia- 
tions he presented. Considering the work as a whole, 
the alternative readings seldom seem to make a signifi- 
cant difference in the basic understanding of the text. 
The student of Arabic wishing to trace for himself the 
possible variants is invited to refer to Gautier's now 
classic rendition. 

This work is much less theoretical than is al- 
Ghazali in others of his writings, and makes much use 
of stories and traditions. Many of these traditions 
are common to the lore of Islam, particularly those giv- 
ing details of the period immediately after death and 
the events of the eschaton. The only collection of 
hadZths to which he makes specific reference is al-Jami c 
al- sahlh of Abu c Abd Allah Muhammad b. Isma c Il al-Bu- 
khari, one of the six major compilations of traditional 
material. The reader wishing to consult other collec- 
tions or to check particular points in the Arabic litera- 
ture is referred to A. J. Wensinck's Concordance et in- 
dices de la tradition musulmane . Occasional footnotes 
to this translation suggest correlative traditions; the 
works from which these samples are taken are listed in 
the bibliography at the end of the translation, with 
abbreviations in brackets. 

Two other aids are provided here to help the reader 
to find particular material in the text quickly. One is 
the index at the end, consisting principally of proper 
names and Arabic terms. The other is a kind of topical 
index preceding the text in the form of an outline (not, 
of course, part of the original Arabic) . The author di- 
vides his work into nine parts or chapters [fusul ] , for 

which the text outlines gives appropriate manuscript 
pages and a content breakdown. The last chapter or fast 
begins only slightly past the middle of the text, and 
apparently continues until the end. Because of the 
length of this section, smaller unit breakdowns are 
given with appropriate page numbers in the outline. It 
is hoped that with this kind of outline the reader may 
be able to have an overview of the flow of this work 
that is somewhat difficult to get from reading the text 
itself, due to the author's tendency to interrupt his own 


Death for al-Ghazali, as he repeats in many ways in 
the Ihya ' , means essentially the separation of the soul 
from the body, the abandoning by the soul of the cares 
and confinements of this world. It is obvious here that 
for those who know, whose light is strong (see P . 46 and 
note 80), death is to be desired. And yet, as the author 
explains so graphically in this text, such is the complex 
make-up of every individual that all share in the dread 
of death, and none is free from the accompanying terrors 
of the final judgment. The theme to which al-Ghazali 
continually returns, however, is that of the freeing of 
the soul from the body, the comparison of death with the 
sleep of this world from which the awakening will be, 
for the pious and knowledgeable, eternal abiding in the 

presence of God • 

As is to be expected, one does not find in the text 
an explicit statement of the meaning of "the precious ^ 
pearl". Anyone familiar with the thought of al-Ghazali, 
however, can see in it an abvious reference to the human 
soul. It seems appropriate to set the scene for the 
treatment of the adventures of that soul as described 
in the Durra by quoting from verses attributed to al- 
Ghazall in another context. These are given in full- 
translation by Margaret Smith in her classic work Al_ 
Ghazali the Mystic ( PP . 36-37, from Brit. Mus. Add. 
76561) with the note that these were, according to 


tradition, the last words to have been put on paper by 
al-Ghazali before he gave himself up to death (Smith 
notes that while they are sometimes actually attributed 
to Ahmad al-Ghazali, they are also to be found in Abu 
Hamid 1 s Ta h sin al-zunun ) : 

"Say to my friends, when they look upon me, dead. 
Weeping for me and mourning for me in sorrow 
Do not believe that this corpse you see is myself. 
In the name of God, I tell you, it is not I, 

I am a spirit, and this is naught but flesh. 

It was my abode and my garment for a time. 

I am a treasure, by a talisman kept hid. 

Fashioned of dust, which served me as a shrine, 

I am a pearl, which has left its shell deserted. 

It was my prison, where I spent my time in grief. 

Think not that death is death, nay, it is life, 

A life that surpasses all we could dream of here. 
While in this world. Here we are granted sleep, 
Death is but sleep, sleep that shall be prolonged. 
Be not affrighted when death draweth nigh. 

It is but the departure for this blessed home. 
Think of the mercy and love of your Lord, 

Give thanks for His grace and come without fear. 
What I am now, even so shall you be. 

For I know that you are even as I am. 

The souls of all men came forth from God, 

The bodies of all are compounded alike 
Good and evil, alike it was ours. 

I give you now a message of good cheer 

May God's peace and joy for evermore be yours." 


pages of the Text : 

1-3 Introduction and classification of worlds 

and creatures. 

3 - 4 Chapter [One]. God's initial division of 

men into those destined for the Garden and 
those destined for the Fire; the primordial 
covenant; the breath of life in the womb. 

4- 17 Chapter [Two]. The departure of the soul at 

death; the good and the wicked; the agony 
of death; temptations presented to the 
dying; the guidance of Gabriel; the way 
in which the dying lose their faculties; the 
ascent of the good soul through the seven 
heavens in the company of Gabriel; some of 
the dead seen in dreams relating their 
experiences before God in this ascent. 

17-27 Chapter [Three]. The experiences of the 

profligate at death; the brief ascent^of the 
profligate soul and expulsion to Si j jin; the 
fate of Christians and Jews; different 
categories of negligent believers; return 
of the soul to the place where the body is 
being washed; interment of the body and the 
visit of the angel Ruman; the two interro- 
gating angels; personification of the deeds 
of the individual souls. 

27-32 Chapter [Four]. Interrogation of the souls 
of the profligate and personification of 
their deeds; vision of dead in dreams and 
instructions given by the dead to the liv- 
ing; visitation of and prayer and mourning 
at the tombs. 



32-38 Chapter [Five] . Classification into four 
groups of souls after death and their 
corresponding abodes in the period between 
death and resurrection; reception of the 
newly deceased by other souls; prohibition 
of suicide; confrontation of Adam and 
Moses; the punishment of barzakh. 

38-44 Chapter [Six]. The trumpet heralds the day 
of resurrection; cataclysmic events of the 
Hour; God's manifestation and declaration 
of sovereignty; the Fire [saqar] is drawn 
forth and repulsed; the dead earth is re- 
vived; bodies are resurrected; Israfil's 
trumpet; the souls united with their bodies 
wait naked on their graves; the clothing 
of the dead. 

44-46 Chapter [Seven] . The time between the two 
trumpet blasts; different opinions on the 
length of that period; the dread of that 

46-66 Chapter [Eight] . Each person waiting on 
his grave with his own light before him; 
the personification of deeds as riding 
animals; loss of one's sense faculties 
at the Hour; the materialization of earthly 
temptations; resurrection of martyrs; the 
angels of the seven heavens surround the 
dead in concentric circles; the confusion 
and perspiring of the dead; children give 
cups of water to the thirsty; the second 
blast of the horn and the arrival of the 
Throne; seeking intercession with God; only 
the Prophet Muhammad is fit to intercede; 
descriptions of the afflictions of the 
negligent and the profligate. 



66-70 Chapter [Nine] . Intercession of the 

Prophet; arrival of the Garden and the 
Fire; terror of the assembled at the sight 
of the Fire; the setting of the balance 
and judgment of beasts. 

70-78 The summoning of the tablet and the 

messengers with their respective communi- 
ties to witness to the claims of Gabriel; 
recitation of the Torah; the Psalms, the 
Gospel and the Qur'an by Moses, David, 
Jesus, and Muhammad. 

78-81 The reckoning of every individual and 

testimony of the hands and feet; commission 
of the wrongdoers to jahannam. 

81-83 The appearance of God to the believers in 
false and true form; the bridge of Sirat; 
the A C raf ; the Basin and river of Kawthar. 

83-88 The distractions of the living from concen- 
tration in prayer; repentant sinners; 
recompense to the blind, the afflicted, 
the righteous, the lovers of God, those 
who fear God, and the poor. 

89-97 Accusation against the rich, the troubled, 
the elegant young men and their slaves, 
and the poor for neglecting God; cases of 
individual confrontation of God and ex- 
pressions of God's mercy; condemnation of 
the taking of life; redemption from the 
Fire of those who have been temporarily 

97-101 The state of transgressors in the Fire; 

those of the community of Muhammad who 
have committed major transgressions in the 
Fire; mercy for those who have faith and 
hope in God. 


101-109 God rolls up the heavens and the earth; 

each individual feels alone at judgment; 
the raining down of the leaves of each 
individual's book; those who enter the 
the Garden without reckoning; the messen- 
gers and prophets and °ulama' on thrones; 
personification of the Qur'an, the earth, 
and Friday. 

110 Conclusion. 


The Book of the Precious Pearl Concerning the Disclosure 
of the Sciences of the Hereafter . The composition of the 
venerable, the Imam, the erudite and most learned, proof 
of Islam, Abu Hamid Muhammad b. Muhammad b. Muhammad al- 
Ghazall al-TusI, may God sanctify his spirit and illumine 
his tomb. Amen. 


Page 18 (intentionally left blank) 

Dura / 19 

In the name of the God, the Merciful, the Beneficent. 

Thus said the Shaykh, the Imam, the learned, the proof of Islam, Abu Hamid 
Muhammad b. Muhammad al-Ghazali al-Tusi, may God sanctify and illumine 
his tomb. 1 

Ill Praise be to God, Who singled out Himself for eternal existence 
and ordained mortality for all others. He made death the possession of the 
people of kufr and is lam 2 alike; by His knowledge He set down the different 
categories of judgment; He appointed the hereafter following the allotted days 
[of man’s life]. All of that he reveals to whomever He wills from among the 
honored people of his creation. May the blessing of God be upon our lord 
Muhammad, Messenger of the omniscient King, and on his family and his 
companions, on whom He has conferred abundance of favor in the abode of 

And now to our subject. Truly, God, exalted be He, says [Every soul \nafs] 
will tasted death...}, and that is attested to in His Book in three places, 3 for 
God, praised be He, and exalted, desired three deaths for the worlds. Thus he 
who belongs to the earthly world dies, he who belongs to the Malakuti world 
dies, and he who belongs to the Jabaruti world dies. 4 The first referes to adam 
and his descendents and all living beings, according to their three species. 5 
The Malakuti or second word contains the various kin ds of angels and jinn. 6 
And the people of the Jabaruti world are the chosen from among the angels, as 
God, may He be exalted, said, [God chooses Messengers from among angels 
and men...} [s 22:75] There are the cherubim [al-karubiyun], the bearers of 
the Throne 7 and companions of the pavilions of God the Majestic. 8 God 
described and extolled them in His Book when He said, {..those who are with 
Him are neither too proud nor too weary to serve Him; the praise Him night 
and day, without 


DURRA / 21 

ceasing . f [S 21:19-20] They are the people of the Holy 
presence, as is signified by His saying, fWe would have 
taken it from that which is in Our presence, had We but 
[wanted to] /3/ do it.f [S 21:17] These die despite 
their position and proximity to God; for even their 
rank will not keep them from death. 

The first thing I shall mention to you concerns 
earthly death. If you have faith in God, His Messenger, 
and the Last Day, open your ears so that you may give 
heed to what I convey to you. I shall describe it to you 
as the progression from one state to another. God tes- 
tifies to what I say and the Qur'an confirms my speech, 
as do the sound reports from the Messenger of God. 

CHAPTER When God, may He be exalted, gathered up 

mankind into two groups. He did it by stroking the back 
of Adam, 9 God's peace be on him. Those that He gathered 
first He put on the right, and those He gathered the 
second time He put on the left. Then God spread His two 
hands to Adam. Adam looked at them and the groups were 
contained in His two noble palms like atoms. Then He 
said, "These are destined for the Garden and I am not 
anxious about them; their activities are those of people 
of the Garden. And those others are destined for the 
Fire, and I am not anxious about them either, for their 
activities are those of people of the Fire." So Adam 
said, "0 Lord, what are the acts of the people of the 
Garden?" He replied, "Three things: faith in Me, 

confirmation of My messengers, and following My Book con- 
cerning what is commanded and forbidden." "And what," 
said Adam, "are the acts of the people of the Fire?" God 
answered, "Three things: association of anything with 

Me, giving the lie to My messengers, and denying My Book 
concerning what is commanded and forbidden." So Adam 
said, "0 Lord, let them testify concerning themselves; 
perhaps they will not do it. f . . .He caused them to 
testify concerning themselves, [saying], 'Am I not your 

Lord?' /4/ They answered, 'Yes! We do testify !... f 
[S 7: 172]" 10 He had the angels and Adam testify that 
they confirmed His lordship. Then He returned them to 
their place, now living souls without bodies. When He 
had returned them to the loins of Adam He caused them 
to die, then seized their souls and placed them near 
Him in one of the treasurehouses . 

When the individual sperm falls, it is established 
in the womb until its form is completed. The soul in 
it is lifeless, but its essential MalakutI nature keeps 
the body from decomposing. Then God, may He be exalted, 
breathes into it His spirit, rendering to it its secret 
essence that had been taken and hidden for a time in one 
of the treasurehouses of the Throne. The infant gets 
agitated — and how many an infant does so in the belly 
of his mother. Perhaps his mother pays attention to 
him, or perhaps she does not. This is a first death 
and a second life. 

CHAPTER Then God, may He be exalted, places him in 
the world for the days of his life until he completes 
his appointed time^" and his allotted means of suste- 
nance and all that has been prescribed for him. And 
when his destiny approaches, that is, his earthly death, 
then the four angels descend to him: the angel who pulls 
the soul from his right foot, the angel who pulls it from 
the left foot, and the angel who pulls it from his right 
hand, and the angel who pulls it from his left hand. 

Some of the circumstances of the Malakuti world may be 
unveiled to the dying person before he expires so that 
he sees those angels, not the way they actually appear 
in their own world, but according to the extent of his 
understanding. If his tongue is unhampered he may tell 
about their existence or the existence of others like 
him. Perhaps he talks to /5/ himself about what he saw, 
and one thinks that it is due to the workings of Satan 


DURRA / 23 

on him. Then he is silent so that his tongue is tied, 
while they pull the soul from the tips of his fingers. 

The good soul slips out like the jetting of water from 
a water-skin, but the profligate's spirit [ruh\ squeaks 
out like a skewer from wet wool. 

Thus the giver of the law, Muhammad, on whom be God's 
blessing and peace, ^ has related, "The dead person 
imagines that his belly is filled with thorns; it seems 
as if his soul is squeezed out through the eye of a 
needle, and as if the sky is pressed down on the earth 
and he is between them. " In this connection, Ka^ 
al-Ahbar 14 was asked about death, and he replied, "It 
is as if a thorny branch were placed in a man's abdomen, 
and a strong person pulled it out, breaking off what he 
could break and letting the rest remain." The Prophet 
also said that one death agony is stronger than three 
hundred blows from a sword. When it occurs, one's 
forehead sweats, his eyes see falsely, his chest lifts 
up, his soul heaves and he turns a yellow color. When 
c A'isha saw the Messenger of God in this condition, 
and he was lying on her lap, she recited these verses, 
choking back her tears: /6/ 

By my life, would that I were your ransom from what 
oppresses you 

In the way of torment, and from what pains you! 

Never did a spirit of madness touch you 'ere this 
Nor were you one to be overawed with terror. 

Why is it that I look into your face 
Seeing it like dye fresh-steeped? 

Thus there appear the afflictions of the soul, 
changing one's face at the moment of death because of 
the magnitude of the sufferings one undergoes. Then his 
soul is confined to his heart, and his tongue becomes 
silent, uttering nothing. No one can speak while the 
soul is gathered together in his chest because of two 
mysteries. The first is that the matter is too great 
for him, for the chest presses upon the soul confined in 
it. Have you not noticed that when one is hit by a blow 

on the chest, he remains stunned and unable to speak? 
Anyone who is stabbed cries out when struck, except the 
person /l / stabbed in the chest; he falls down without 
crying out. 

As for the second mystery, it is due to the fact 
that the movement of the voice comes from the bursting 
forth of natural heat. When one becomes rigid and stays 
without moving, he comes to the point where he cannot 
breathe except with waning force, dissociated from the 
brain. His soul becomes changed due to two circum- 
stances , elevation and cold, because he has lost his 

At this point, the conditions of the dead differ. 

Some of them are stabbed at that time by an angel with 
a poisoned sword dipped in a poison of fire. The soul 
flees, escaping in a stream, and when the angel takes it 
in his hand it shudders like quicksilver. It is only 
the size of a bee, but with human characteristics. Then 
the guardians of hell [al-zabanZya take it away. 

For some of the dead, the soul is pulled out slowly 
and gradually to the point where it is confined in the 
windpipe. But only a small part of it remains in the 
windpipe, connected to the heart, so at this time the 
angel pierces it with that sword already described. The 
soul does not finally separate from the heart until it 
has been pierced. /8/ The principle of the sword is 
that it has been dipped in the sea of death. When it 
is placed in contact .with the heart, its principle 
courses through the body like steeped poison. This is 
so because the principle of life is situated in the 
heart where it has exercised its effect from the moment 
of the first birth. 

Some of the theologians have said that life is not 
identical with the soul, meaning that it is a combination 
of soul and body. 

24 / the precious pearl 

DURRA / 25 

When the soul has thus risen to the upper part of 
the body, temptations are presented to it. For instance 
Iblls 17 may send his servants to a particular person, 
placing them over him and putting him in their charge. 

They come to him while he is in that condition and show 
him the image of someone who has died before him, of 
those whom he loved, and who gave him counsel in the 
abode of this world, such as his father, mother, brother, 
sister or intimate friend. They say to him, "You are 
dying, 0 Fulan, 18 and we have gone before you in this 
matter. Die as a Jew for it is the religion acceptable 
to God.” And if he turns away from them and refuses, 
others come and say to him, "Die as^a Christian, for, 
it is the religion of the Messiah, and by it is 
abrogated /9/ the religion of Moses." Then they mention 
to him the articles of faith of each religion. 

It is at that point that God turns aside all of 
those for whom He wills deviation. That is the meaning 
of His word, tOur Lord! do not cause our hearts to devi- 
ate after You have guided us, but from Your Presence 
grant us mercy. Truly You are the Bounteous Giver . f 
[S 3:8] That is, do not make our hearts deviate when 
You have guided us prior to that time. 

When God wants to acknowledge and guide His servant, 
He sends to him the angel of mercy, and it is said that 
that is Gabriel [Jibrll]. 20 He drives the demons away 
from the dying person, so that the pallor is removed 
from his face and he actually smiles. Most of those 
seen smiling in this situation are joyful because of the 
envoy who brings mercy from God, saying, "0 Fulan, do 
you not know me? I am Gabriel, and those are your 
enemies from among the demons. Die in_the religion of 
the pious monotheists [ al-milla al-hanlfiya] and the way 
of Muhammad [al-sharl°a al-Muhammadiya ] . Nothing is more 
beloved to a person nor more joyous to him than that. 

And this is His word, t...from Your Presence grant us 
mercy. Truly You are the Bounteous Giver . f [S 3:8]. 

Then the dead person is taken at the time when the 
angel pierces him. One may be pierced while he is at 
prayer, or /10/ sleeping, or going about some business 
of his, or intent on amusement. It comes as a surprise, 
fop the soul is seized but one time. Then there is also 
the one who, when his soul reaches his throat, sees 

unveiled for him his kin who have preceeded him, and 


is surrounded by his neighbors from the dead. He 
utters a kind of lowing which all creatures save man can 
hear; if man hears it he is struck senseless. 

The last faculty lost to the dying person is that 
of hearing. When the connection between the spirit 
and the heart is broken, sight is destroyed, but hearing 
is not lost until the soul is seized. Thus Muhammad, on 
whom be God's blessing and peace, said, "Recite to your 
dying the testimony that there is no God but God." But 
he forbade them to repeat it too often because the dying 
at that moment are experiencing the greatest terror and 
mortal apprehension. 

When you look at the dying person and his mouth 
waters, his lips contract, his face turns black and his 
eyes become bluish, then know that he is miserable. The 
reality of his wretchedness in the hereafter has been 
unveiled to him. And when you see the dying person and 
his mouth is hollow as if he were laughing, his face 
beaming, his eyes cast down, then know that he has been 
told the good news of the joy that will come to him in 
the hereafter; /ll/ the reality of his blessedness has 
been revealed to him. 

When the angel seizes the happy soul, two angels 
with beautiful faces, wearing lovely clothes and with 
sweet-smelling fragrance, take it and wrap it in silk 
taken from the silk of the Garden. The soul is the size 
of a bee, with human characteristics, and has not lost 
its intelligence or its knowledge acquired in this world. 
They ascend with it in the air, and continue to pass 


by former communities and past eras j much like swarms of 
locusts scattered about. Among them are some whom he 
knows, and others whom he does not know. Finally they^ 
arrive at the near heaven [sama' al-dunya ] and al-Amin 
[Gabriel] knocks at the gate. Then a voice says to al- 
Amln, "Who are you?" He answers, "I am Salsa 1 il and 
this is /12/ Fulan with me," using the most excellent 
and the most beloved of his names. The reply comes, 

"Yes, the man was Fulan, and there is no doubt that his 
faith was sound." Then they reach the second heaven 
and al-Amin knocks at the gate. "Who are you?" Gabriel 
says what he said the first time. And the reply comes, 
"Welcome to Fulan! He used to observe his prayers on 
all the occasions requiring them." 

Then they pass until they reach the third heaven. 
Al-Amin knocks at the door, and a voice says. Who are 
you?" He repeats what he said the first time, and they 
hear, "Greetings to Fulan. He used to honor God in 
respect to his possessions and not cling to any of them." 
Again they move on until they reach the fourth heaven, 
and he knocks on the gate. "Who are you?" comes the 
question, and al— Amin repeats the same speech again. 

Then comes the response, "Welcome to Fulan. He used to 
fast and he did it well, refraining from using obscenity 
or eating forbidden food." Again they pass until they 
reach /13/ the fifth heaven. He knocks on the door and 
when "Who are you?" comes, he responds again with the 
usual answer. Then they hear, "Welcome to Fulan. He 

performed the pilgimage required by God, without 

. „ 24 

pretention or hypocrisy. 

Continuing on, they reach the sixth heaven and he 
knocks on the gate. "Who are you?" Al-Amin answers as 
is his habit. "Greetings," comes the reply, "to the 
righteous man and the good soul. He used to have great 
piety toward his parents." The gate is opened for him, 
and they pass on until they reach the seventh heaven. 
Gabriel knocks on the door, and they hear, "Who are you?" 

DURRA / 27 

Al-Amin says his usual speech, to which is said, "Greet- 
ings to Fulan. He used to seek God’s forgiveness until 
the morning and to give alms in secret and to provide 
for orphans." The gate opens for them and they pass 
pn until they reach the majestic pavilions. There he 
knocks on the door and again hears the question, "Who 
are you?" Al-Amin gives his usual reply, and the re- 
sponse comes, "Welcome to the worthy servant and the 
noble soul. He used to ask forgiveness often, commanding 
that which is good, forbidding /14/ the reprehensible 
and showing generosity to the poor. " 

Then they pass by a group of angels, all of them 
giving good tidings to the soul and greeting him, until 
they arrive at the Lote-tree of the boundary. Gabriel 
knocks at the door, and a voice says, "Who are you?" Al- 
Amin responds in the usual way, to which is said, Wei 
come to Fulan. His deeds were righteous in the eyes of 
God. " The gate is opened for them and they pass re- 
spectively through oceans of fire, light, darkness, 
water, ice and hail. The length of each of these oceans 
is one thousand years. Then they penetrate the coverings 
affixed to the Throne of Mercy. There are eighty thou- 
sand balconies and each balcony having a moon radiant 
upon God, glorifying Him and venerating Him. If one 
of these moons should appear in the near heaven, it 
would be worshipped instead of God and its light would 
singe the earth. 

Then a herald from /15/ the Holy Presence calls from 
behind those pavilions, "Who is this soul whom you have 
brought?" "Fulan ibn Fulan," he replies. Then the 
Glorious One says, "Let him approach. Truly you are 
an excellent servant, O My servant.” He stops him in 
front of Him, embarrassing him with some rebuke and 
reproof until the soul thinks that he is doomed. Then 
He pardons him, may He be glorified and exalted. 


DURRA / 29 

— 2 6 

There is a story about Yahyli ibn Aktham al-Qadi, 

27 * . ’ 

who was seen in a dream. He was asked, "What did God 

do to you?” and he replied, "He made me stop in front of 

Him, then He said to me, "Oh you evil old man, you have 

done this and that. ' I said, 'O Lord, what about that 

which has been told to me about You?' God said, 'And 

what have you been told about Me, 0 Yahya?' I answered, 

• —2 8 

'My God and my Lord, Mu ammar told me from al-Zuhri 
from c Urwa 29 from C A'isha who was told it from the 
Prophet, from Gabriel, from You, may You be glorified, 
that You said: I am reluctant to /16/ punish an old 
person who has matured in Islam. ' Then He smiled 
and said, '0 YahyS, you are right, as were Mu c ammar and 
al-Zuhri and c Urwah. And C A'isha was right and Muhammad 
and Gabriel. I spoke the tru^h; go, for I have pardoned 
you . ' " 

Ibn Nubata was also seen in a dream and he was 
asked, "What did God do to you?" He answered, "He made 
me stop before Him, saying, 'You are the one whose speech 
is so pure that people say. How eloquent he is!' But 
I replied, 'Glory be to you! I was describing You!' 

Then He said, 'Speak as you used to speak in the earthly 
world.' So I said, 'He Who created them has destroyed 
them; He Who made them speak has silenced them; He Who 
brought them into being has annihilated them. And as He 
destroyed them, so will He again bring them into being; 
as He created them, so will He return them and restore 
them.' So God said to me, 'You are correct. Go, for 
I forgive you.'" 

— c 31 

The story is also told about Mansur ibn Ammar, 
who was seen in a dream and was asked, "What did God do 
to you?" He replied, "He made me stop in front of Him 
and He said to me, 'What have you brought to Me, O 
Mansur?' I said, 'Thirty-six pilgrimages.' He answered, 
'I do not accept any one of them.' Then He said, 'What 
else have you brought me, 0 Mansur?' 'Three hundred and 

sixty recitations of the Qur'an,' I said. He told me, 

'I do not accept any one of them.' Then He said /17/ 
to me, 'What have you brought to Me, 0 Mansur?' 'The 
fasts of sixty years,' said I. ' I do not accept one 
pf them,’ came the answer. 'What have you brought to 
me, O Mansur?' I then replied, 'I have brought to You 
Yourself!' And He said to me. Glory be to Him, 'Now 
you have come unto Me. Go, for I forgive you.'" 

There are many stories related of these matters. 

I have told you somewhat of them, that he who is to be 
guided may be guided by them; God is the One to Whom we 
turn for assistance. 

There are some people who, upon finally reaching 

the Throne, hear the cry, "Send him back!" Then there 

are some who are thrust back from the veils of the 

Throne. Only those who know God reach Him, and only the 


people of the fourth station and beyond actually stand 
before Him. 

CHAPTER As for the profligate, his soul is 

taken harshly, his face like the one who eats colocynth. 

The angel says, "Go away from me, oh you evil soul of 

noxious body!" Then he shrieks louder than the braying 

of a donkey. When c Izra'Il 33 seizes his soul he delivers 

it to the guardians of hell, who have repulsive faces, 

black clothes and rotten breath, and hold in their hands 


a hair shirt in which they wrap the soul. The human 

person is changed into one the size of a locust. The 

unbeliever is larger in size than the believer; I refer, 

of course, to the Hereafter. And in truth, the kafir in 


the Fire is like the Mount of Uhud. 

The angel ascends with the soul until they reach 
the gate of the near heaven, and al-Amin knocks at the 
door. A voice says, "Who are you?" and he replies, "I 
am Daqya'il" because the name of the angel responsible 
to /18/ the myrmidons of punishment is Daqya'il. Then 


he is asked, "Who is with you?" to which he replies, 

Fulan ibn Fulan," using the ugliest and most loathsome 
of the names he had in the earthly realm. Then he is 
told, "You are not welcome!" t...and the gates of heaven 
are not opened to them, and they do not enter the 
Garden . t [S 7:40] 

When al-Amln hears this speech, he flings the soul 
from his hands, and the wind drops it in a far distant 
place. That accords with His word, t-.-For whoever as- 
cribes partners to God, it is as if he fell from the sky 
and a bird carried him away or the wind descended on him 
[and 'deposited him] in a distant place.? [S 22:31] Oh 
what a disgrace has befallen him! And when he reaches 
the earth, the guardians of hell rush to him and lead 
him to Sijjln, 36 a huge stone to which are brought 
immoral spirits. 

As for the Christians and the Jews, they return from 
the Throne to their graves. This is for those who fol- 
lowed their faith, and each observes his washing and his 
burial. The one who ascribes partners to God, however, 
does not witness that, because he has been dropped [by 
the wind]. And as for the hypocrite, he is like the one 
who is sent back to his grave, odious and banished. 

The negligent among the believers are of different 
kinds. First is the worshipper whose prayer is refused 
because he was negligent in its performance, taking only 
little time for it. /19/ The prayer is rolled up just 
as shabby clothes are rolled up, and the servant's face 
is struck with it. Then the prayer ascends, saying, 

"May God neglect you as you have neglected me. 

Then there is the one whose alms are returned be- 
cause he gave them only so that it could be said, "How 
charitable Fulin is!" Perhaps he even gave out alms m 
the presence of women in the attempt to win their affec- 
tion. We have seen instances of this, may God preserve 
us from such a thing! 

DURRA / 31 

Another type is the one whose fast is rejected be- 
cause while fasting from food he did not abstain from 
obscene and depraved speech. The month of fasting turns 
away from him, because he has falsified it. 

There is also the person whose pilgrimage is re- 
turned to him because he only performed it so that it 
might be said, "Fulin has made the pilgrimage!", or it 
may be he made the pilgrimage with ill-earned gains. 

Among those who are rejected is the person refrac 
tory to his parents. Other concerns of piety are known 
only to those learned in the secrets of good conduct 
and sincerity of actions performed for the King, the 

And all of this is what is meant by the various 
traditions and narratives, such as that /20/ related by 
Mu C idh ibn jabal 37 about the rejection of deeds, and 
other such things. I only wish to suggest the matter 
here, for volumes have been filled in confirmation of 
it, and people knowledgeable in the law [al-shar 1 know 
the truth of these matters as well as they know their 

own children. 

When the soul is returned to the body, it finds it 
has already been taken for the washing, if it is to be 
washed. So it sits near the head until the body 
washed. God opens up the vision of those among the 
righteous whom He wills, so that they can see the soul 
in its earthly form. Thus a man related that he washe 
one of his sons, when suddenly he materialized, sitting 
near the head of the body. Fear overcame him, so he 
left the side from which he saw the figure and turne 
to the other side. The figure continued to watch until 
the dead body was encased in his winding sheets, then it 
returned to its shroud. Also the learned man saw him 

• 38 
on the bier . 


DURRA / 33 

Thus it has been related on the authority of more 
than one pious person that [the Prophet] ordered them to 
call out over the bier, "Where is Fulan? Where is the 
spirit lal-ruh]?" /21/ and the shroud trembled sponta- 
neously two or three times. 

Rabl c ibn Khaytham 39 has told about one dead person 

who became agitated in the hands of his washer. He spoke 

on his bier about the era of Abu Bakr al-Siddlq mentioning 

c — “40 

his excellence [fadl] and that of Umar al-Faruq. He 
then concluded by mentioning the virtues of Uthman . 

Truly this soul had witnessed Malakuti matters; God opens 
up the hearing of whomever of His creation He wishes. 

When the dead person has been wrapped in his 
winding-clothes, his soul becomes attached to the chest 
on the outside, lowing and crying and saying, "Hurry with 
me to whatever mercy you are taking me, if indeed you 
know what it is!" And if it has been informed of its 
misfortune, it says, "Slowly, slowly to whatever punish- 
ment you are taking me, if in fact you know what it 
is I " For that reason the Messenger of God did not allow 
a funeral procession /22/ to pass without standing as it 
went by. In the Sahih it says that a funeral procession 
passed before him and he stood in salutation. So some- 
one said to him, "O Messenger of God, he is a Jew." The 
Prophet replied, "Was he not a soul?" He used to do 
this because the Malakuti secrets were unveiled to him; 
he took pleasure in death when it passed by him, for he 
was one of those who understood its meaning. 

When the dead person is put into his grave and the 

earth is poured on him, the grave calls to him, "You 

used to enjoy yourself on my surface, but now you will 

grieve in my interior; you used to eat all kinds of 

delicacies on my surface, but today the worms will eat 


you while your are inside me." It repeats to him many 

similar expressions of rebuke until the dirt is leveled 

- - 42 

over him. Then an angel whose name is Ruman calls to 

c- 4 3 

him. It is related that Ibn Mas ud once told how he 
had asked, “0 Messenger of God, what is the first thing 
the dead person encounters when he is put in his grave?" 
And he replied, "0 Ibn Mas c ud, you are asking me about 
something no one else has asked about. The first thing 
that happens is that the angel Ruman comes , roaming 
about the graves and saying, 'O servant of God, write 
down your deeds.' And he answers, 'I do not have any 
ink or paper.' So Ruman says, 'You are wrong! Your 
shroud is your paper, your saliva your ink and your 
finger your pen.' So he cuts for him a piece of his 
shroud, and makes the servant write, even if he could 
not write /23/ while in this world. He mentions then 
his good and bad deeds as if it were a question of only 
one day. Then the angel folds up the piece of shroud 
and fastens it on his neck." At that point the Messen- 
ger of God recited, tWe have fastened the fate of every 
man on his neck...? [S 17:13], referring to his deeds. 

When that is concluded, the two interrogators of 

the grave enter. They are two black angels who rend 
apart the earth with their fangs. They have their hair 
down dragging the ground. Their voices are like cracking 
thunder, their eyes like flashing lightning and their 
breath like a violent wind. In the hand of each one of 
them is an iron rod so heavy that the inhabitants of 
heaven and earth together could not lift it. If the 
largest mountain were hit by it, it would be destroyed. 
Seeing them, the soul shudders and flies away, entering 
into the nostrils of the dead person. Life is revived 
in his breast, and he then has a form such as he had at 
the time when the death agony came. He cannot move 
although he hears and sees . 


DURRA / 35 

The angels interrogate him with severity and re- 
proach him with roughness. Suddenly the dusty earth 
becomes /24/ like water to him wherein he moves freely, 
and finds pleasureful relief. Then they say to him, 

"Who is your Lord, and what is you religion [din ] , and 
who is your Prophet, and what is your prayer direction 
[qibla]'!" God determines a sure and right response for 
those for whom He assures success, so that his response 
[to the question of the angels] is, "He Who gave you 
authority and He Who sent you to me." This is said 
only by the virtuous c ulama’.^~ > At this one of the 
angels says to the other, "He is correct; we have chas- 
tised him sufficiently." Then they expand the top of 
the tomb for him like a great dome, and open for him a 
gate to the Garden opposite his right side. They spread 

out for him some of its silks and perfumes, and refresh- 


ing breezes from the Garden waft in to him. His good 
deeds come to him in the form of the loveliest of crea- 
tures, 47 putting him at ease and talking to him while 
his grave is filled with light. He rejoices without 
ceasing and is full of bliss for as long as he remains 
on the earth, until the Hour comes. Yet he continues 
to ask, "When will the Hour arrive?", for there is 
nothing he would like better than its coming. 

Below him in rank is the believer who did good works 
but had no portion of religious knowledge or of the /25/ 
secrets of the Malakut. His deeds enter in the best of 
forms with pleasant perfume and attractive clothing, 
saying to him, "Do you not know me?" And he replies, "Who 
are you, whom God has graced me with in my exile?" The 
figure says, "I am your own good deeds, so do not grieve 
and do not be afraid; very soon Munkar and Nakir will 
enter and question you, so do not be taken back. Then 
it instructs him about his defense. While he is at this, 
the two angels enter, as was described above. They chide 
him with angry words and make him sit down, supported 

on his back. Then they say to him, "Who is your 

Lord...?" as was done before. He answers in a clear 

voice, "God is my Lord and Muhammad is my Prophet and 

the Qur'an is my guide, and Islam is my religion and the 

Ka c ba is my prayer direction and Abraham is my father 

and his community [milla] is my community." Then they 

say to him, "You are correct," and they do with him as 

was described in the first case, except that they open 

for him a door to the Fire on his left side. He gazes 

at its serpents and scorpions and chains and fetters and 

- 49 

boiling water and [the tree of] Zaqqum and its fester- 
ing matter and all its affliction, and he is miserable. 
Then they say to him, "That misfortune is not for you; 

God has exchanged your place on the Fire for a place in 
the Garden; sleep in peace." They shut the door to the 
Fire and open for him the door to the Garden, and he is 
unaware of the passing /26/ of the months and years and 
ages . 

Then there is the one whose responses are obscure. 

If his real creed was something different [from what is 
commanded], it is impossible for him to say, "God is my 
Lord," and he mumbles something else. So they strike 
him such a blow that the grave is set on fire. It dies 
down for awhile, then it begins to burn again, and this 
is his situation as long as he remains in the earth. 

There is also the person for whom it is extremely diffi- 
cult to say, "Islam is my religion," because he may have 
experienced doubt or succumbed to a temptation at the 
time of death. So they strike him a single blow and his 
tomb is set ablaze with fire, like the one before. Still 
another finds it difficult to say, "The Qur’an is my 
guide, " for though he used to read it, he did not accept 
its admonition, nor did he carry out its commands or 
refrain from that which it forbids. He devoted time to 
it, but his soul did not profit from it. And so he is 
treated as are the others . 


DURRA / 37 

There is another whose deeds are transformed into 
a young dog that punishes him in the grave according 
to the degree of his sin, or into a piglet, son of a 
swine. For some it is difficult to say, "Muhammad is 
my Prophet", because they were forgetful of his way 
[sunna ] . Another cannot utter, "The Ka c ba is my prayer 
direction", because he attended it so little in his 
prayer or was imperfect in his ablutions, or turned 
around while /27/ praying so that his prayer postures 
and prostrations were incorrect. What has been reported 
concerning those things that are virtuous in prayer 
suffices to let you know that God does not accept prayer 
from one who is negligent or wears forbidden dress. 

There is also the kind of person for whom it is 
difficult to say, "Abraham is my father", because one 
day he heard something that made him fear that Abraham 
was a Jew or a Christian, filling him with doubt. So 
what is done to the others is done to him. And all of 
these various kinds of people we have already discussed 
in the Kitab al-Ihya' . 

CHAPTER As for the profligate, the two angels 

said to him, "Who is your Lord?" and he replies, "I 
do not know." So they say to him, "You do not know and 
are not aware?" Then they strike him with those iron 
rods until he is beaten down to the seventh earth. Then 
the earth casts him back into his grave, and they hit him 
seven times more. 

There are a variety of circumstances for the pro- 
fligates . The works of some are changed into dogs 
snapping at them until the Hour arrives; these are the 
rebels. Those of others are changed into swine by which 
they are tormented in the grave; these are the skeptics. 
Such are some of the conditions into which the inhabi- 
tants of the graves fall, which we have mentioned only 
in abbreviated form. The reason for the variation is 
that the individual is only punished in his grave by 

something that he feared on earth. Some people fear 
dogs more than lions, for the natures of created beings 
/28/ differ. We ask peace and pardon from God before 
we have cause for remorse. 

The story is told that someone who had died was 
seen in a dream and was asked, "How are you?" He 
replied, "I prayed one day without performing the ablu- 
tions, so God put a wolf in charge of me to frighten me 
in my grave. My situation with him is a most terrible 
one!" Another was seen in a dream and was asked, "What 
did God do with you?" He a/iswered, "Leave me alone! 

One day I did not perform the ablution for ritual impuri- 
ty, so God dressed me in a robe of fire in which I 
writhe." Another was seen and was asked about what God 
had done to him, and he said, "The washer who washed me 
[at death] handled me roughly, lacerating me on a nail 
sticking out of the washingroom, and I have suffered 
from it." When morning came the washer was questioned 
and he said, "I did not mean to do it." Still another 
was seen in a dream and was asked, "How are you? Are 
you not dead?" "Yes," he said, "and I am well except 
that a stone broke my rib when the earth was levelled 
over me and it injured me." So the grave was opened 
and they found him just as he had said. 

/29/ Another came to his son while he was sleeping 
and he said, "0 my son, repair the place where your 
father sleeps, for the rain has damaged it." So when 
morning came he sent someone to his father's grave and 
he found that a little stream of water had come upon it 
from a river and the tomb was filled with water. Then 
there was the Bedouin who said to his [dead] father, 

"What did God do to you?" The father replied, "He did 
not harm me except that I was buried opposite Fulan and 
he was a sinner. I have been horrified by the different 
torments he received!" 


DURRA / 39 

Much of what is found in stories like these explains 
that the dead are tormented in their graves. Sufficient 
as an indication is the narrative in which the Master of 
the Law [Muhammad] says, "The dead is pained in his grave 
by the same things that pain a living man.” The Messen- 
ger of God forbade breaking the bones of the dead. He 
once passed by a man sitting in front of a grave, and 
told him to stop it, "Do not do harm to the dead in 
their graves." 

Once when the Prophet visited the grave of his 
mother Amina, he wept, and it made those with him weep. 
Then he said, "I asked my Lord permission to pray for 
pardon for her, and He did not grant it. Then I asked 
permission to visit her grave, and He granted it to me. 
/30/ So visit the tombs, for they will make you remember 
death." Whenever he came to visit the cemetery, he used 
to say, "Peace be upon the people of these abodes who 
are among the believing Muslims. Truly if God wills it, 
we are coming after you. You preceded us and we will 
follow you. 0 God, forgive us and them, and by Your 
Grace refrain from [punishing] us and them. " The Prophet 
used to instruct his wives when the women went out to the 
cemetery, saying to them, "Say these words," and this 
was the formula He taught them. 

Salih al-Muzannl said, "I asked one of the °ulama' 
why he forbade prayer in the cemetery. He took as his 
guide a hadlth [which says], "Do not pray among the 
graves, because that is an affliction which has no 
limit." Another has related, "I was praying one day in 
the cemetery when the heat became intense; then I saw 
someone who looked like my father on the back of his 
grave. I prostrated myself in terror and I heard him 
saying, 'The earth is too confined for you, so you had 
to come annoying us after some time with your prayer!” 

In a narrative of the Sahih it says that the Messen- 
ger of God, passing by an orphan crying at the grave of 

his father, wept out of compassion for him. Then he 

said, "Indeed the dead person is tormented by the tears 

of the living over him."^ That is, he is grieved and 

afflicted by them. How many of the dead seen in dreams, 

when asked, "How are you, 0 Fulan?" reply /31/ "My 

condition is poor because of Fulan and Fulana, who are 

t 52 

shedding many tears over me." (The Zindiqs, however, 
deny that.) . 

The Sahih relates that the Messenger of God said, 

"No one of you passes by the grave of his brother Muslim 
whom he knew on the earth and gives him peace but that 
the dead person recognizes him and returns peace to him." 
In the same way, while he was turning away from a bier 
that had just been buried, he said, "He hears the thump- 
ings of your sandals, and if he hears that, he is even 
better able to hear other things." 

One of the dervishes [faqirs] died before he had 
made his testament. So he began to rove about his house 
at night, saying, "Give to Fulan such and such a portion 
of crops, and return to Fulan his book which I had with 
me for some time." And when morning came each [of the 
dervishes] mentioned to the other what he had seen. Then 
they gave the crops, but though they searched for the 
book they did not find it. This surprised them greatly, 
but then after some time they found it in a corner of the 
house . 

Someone else has related this story: "Our father 

engaged for us a teacher to teach us our lessons at home. 
Then the teacher died. After six days we went to his 
grave to visit him, /32/ and began to discuss with each 
other the matter of God's command, may He be exalted. 
Someone passed by us selling a plate of figs, which we 
bought and ate, throwing the stems onto the grave. When 
night came, the Shaykh saw the dead man in a dream, and 
said to him, 'How are you?' 'Fine,' he replied, 'except 
that your children took my grave for a garbage pile and 



DURRA / 41 

talked about me, with words that are nothing but infi- 
delity!" The Shakyh reprimanded us, and we said [to each 
other] , 'Glory be to God! He continues to bother us in 
the hereafter just as he did on the earth!"' 

There are many of these stories. I have mentioned 
only these few examples, and as admonitions, so that the 
many might be considered on the basis of the few. 

CHAPTER As for the people of the tombs, they are 
to be found in four conditions: First there are those 

who remain on their shoulders until / 3 3 / their individ- 
uality 53 fades away, their corpses become bloated and 
their bodies return to dust. Then they continue to 
wander around the realm below the earthly heaven. 

Next are the ones whom God allows to slumber , so 
that they do not know what has happened to them until 
they are awakened with the first blast [of the trumpet] ; 
then they die. Then there are those who only stay in 
their graves for two or three months, after which their 
souls mount on birds which fly with them up to the 
Garden. A sound hadlth relates that the Master of the 
Law, Muhammad, said, "The soul of the believer is a 
bird perched on the trees of the Garden." The true 
meaning of this is that when he was asked about the 
spirits [arwah] of martyrs, he said, "The spirits of the 
martyrs are in the crops of green birds perched on the 
trees of the Garden." 54 Some, when their individuality 
fades away, rise up to where the trumpet [is to be blown] 
and remain there until its blast is sounded. 

The fourth group is reserved for the prophets 
[anbiya'] and saints [awliya’]; they have a choice. 

Some of them choose to remain on the earth, walking about 
until the Hour comes. Many of them are seen in dreams; 

I am thinking of al-Siddiq and al-Faruq in particular. 
The Prophet himself had the choice of circling through 
the three worlds. Concerning this choice he said one 
day, by way of information and instruction, "Truly God 

prizes me more than that He would leave me in /34/ the 

earth more than three...” And this was three decades, 

5 6 

because Husayn was killed at the beginning of the 
thirtieth year and the Prophet, angered with the people 
of the earth, ascended into the sky. One of the pious 
saw him in a dream and said, "0 Messenger of God, dearer 
to me than my father and my mother! What think you of 
the strife of your community?" And he replied, "God 
increases their strife! They murdered Husayn, and did 
not keep me there!" Then he began to speak a number of 
words ambiguous to the narrator. 

Some of the fourth group, such as Abraham, choose 
the seventh heaven. In the hadith it says that the 
Prophet passed by him 5 ^ while he was leaning against the 
Bayt al-Ma c mur, surrounded by the children of Muslims. 
Jesus [ IS&] is in the fifth heaven. In every heaven 
are messengers and prophets who remain there and do not 
leave until the bolt shall fall. Only five among them 
have a choice: the Friend [al-Khalil] , the Spokesman 

[al-Kalim] , the Spirit [al-Ruh] , the Chosen [al-Safiy] , 

- 59 ‘ 

and the Beloved [al-Habib] . These end up wherever they 
wish in the several worlds. As for the friends of God 
(the saints) , some of them are stayed for the earthly 
resurrection; it was related of Abu Yazid 50 that he is 
at the foot of the Throne eating at a table. 

Thus in these four kinds of conditions the people 
of the grave are given punishment, mercy, ease and honor 

Those of them who are on the earth crowd around the 
dead person when he dies so that the roominess of his 
abode becomes straitened by them. In some cases they 
will be visible to the dead and he will see them /35/ and 
understand who they are. I myself have beheld many who 
spoke in this fashion. Once I saw one of my friends 
whose sight was uncovered; he gazed at his son, who was 
dead, but had penetrated into the house, and was fully 


43 / DURRA 

conscious and formed. These advantages of the Malukuti 
world are only for [those of] a generous or noble nature. 
We beseech God to grant us of His knowledge that which 
will immerse us in the ocean of His secrets, so that 
doubt and uncertainty may pass away. 

Among these various kinds of the dead described, 
none perceives the revolution of night and day except 
those whose individuality remains and who do not ascend 
on high. Some of these even recognize Friday and the 
feast days. When one of the [newly] dead leaves the 
earth, they all gather around him and recognize who he 
is. This one may inquire about his wife, another about 
his son, another about his father, each one asking about 
his own concerns. 

Sometimes someone dies and does not meet any of his 

acquaintances. This is because something caused him to 

deviate at the moment of death / 3 6 / so that he died a 

Jew or a Christian; and he thus goes to join their ranks. 

Then when someone else from the world arrives, his 

neighbors ask him, "What do you know about Fulan [the 

one who converted]?" "He has died." They answer, "Truly 

we are God's and to Him we return! He has been sent down 


to the community of the pit [hawiya ] ." 

One person was seen in a dream and was asked, "What 
did God do to you?" He answered, "I am with Fulan and 
Fulan" (numbering five of his companions) , "in excellence 
and wellbeing." He and his five companions had been 
slain by the Kharijites. 63 Then he was asked concerning 
a neighbor of his, "What has God done with him?" and he 
said, "We have not seen him." The one mentioned had 
thrown himself into the sea, so that he drowned. I 
believe - though God knows best - that he is with those 
who take their own lives. 

The Sahih relates that the Messenger of God once 
said, "Whoever kills himself with a sharp knife will be 
found on the day of resurrection with it in his hand, 
stabbing himself in the belly in the fire of Hell 

[jahannam ] , where he will remain eternally. Thus the 
one who kills himself continues in the condition in which 
he died. Whoever purposefully falls off a mountain and 
kills himself falls on his skull in the fire of Hell, 
just as a woman who dies during legal punishment contin- 
ues to feel the pain until the trumpet blast. And that 
is the second / 3 7 / life. 

It is related on sound authority that Adam met 

Moses, and Moses said to him, "You are the one whom God 

created by His hand and in whom He breathed His spirit. 

His angels prostrated themselves before you, and He 


allowed you to dwell in His Garden. So why did you 
renounce him?" Adam replied, "0 Moses, you are the one 
to whom God gave His word, revealing to you the Torah. 

Have you not seen in it the words, 'And Adam disobeyed 
His Lord'?" Moses said to him, "Yes." And Adam contin- 
ued, "For how many years before I committed the sin had 
it been ordained for me?” "It was decreed for you fifty 
thousand years before you committed it," said Moses, to 
which Adam replied, "So then, 0 Moses, do you blame me 
for a sin ordained for me fifty thousand years before 
its commission?" 

In the Sahih it says that the Messenger of God 
prayed with the messengers on the night of his ascent, 
prostrating himself two times, and that he invoked the 
peace of Aaron [Harun] and prayed for mercy on him and 
his community, and that he did the same for Enoch [Idris] . 
Those two had died, and their individuality had disap- 
peared. This is only the life of the soul, and it is 
after the resurrection that the second life comes. The 
first life began with the day in which t...He made them 
testify concerning themselves, "Am I not your Lord?"^ 

They answered, "Yes! We do testify!"...)! [S 7:172]. 

The earthly life cannot be counted, for it is only a 
mockery of contentment. Concerning this it is related 
that the Prophet said, "Mankind is asleep; and when 
people die, they awaken." 


DURRA / 45 

Such are the conditions of the dead. When their 
individuality disappears from them some are stationary, 
/38/ some move around, some are stricken and others are 
punished. The truth of that is illustrated by His having 
said, {They will be brought in front of the Fire morning 
and evening, and on the day that the Hour arrives, the 
people of Pharaoh will be made to enter the greatest 
punishment . f [S 40:46] "The day" is proof of the 
punishment of barzakh . ^ 

CHAPTER When God so wills it, the blowing of the 

trumpet will usher in- the arrival of the Hour, according 
to the mysteries which we have described in the Ih ya ' . 
Then the mountains will be scattered and will move like 
the clouds; the seas will gush forth one into the other 
and the sun will be rolled up and will return to black 
ashes; the oceans will overflow until the atmosphere is 
filled up with water. The worlds will pass into each 
other, the stars will fall like a broken string of pearls 
and the sky will become like rose balm, rotating like a 
turning / 39/ millstone. The earth will shake with a 
tremendous shaking, sometimes contracting and sometimes 
expanding like a skin until God orders the stripping of 
the spheres. In all of the seven earths and the seven 
heavens, as well as the vicinity of the Throne, no living 
being will remain, their souls all having departed. Even 
if one is spiritual, his spirit will depart. The earth 
will be empty of its inhabitants and the sky of its 
dwellers, including all of the various species of 

Then God will manifest Himself in the clouds, 
seizing the seven heavens in His right hand and the 
seven earths in His left, saying, "0 world, 0 worldly 
one! Where are your masters? Where are your chiefs? 

You have beguiled them with your splendors and with your 
beauty you have kept them from concern for things of the 
hereafter." Then He extols His own praise as He so 

desires; He glorifies His eternal existence and His last- 
ing power and never-ending dominion and victorious omni- 
potence and boundless wisdom. Three times He asks, "To 
Whom belongs the Kingdom this day?" No one answers Him 
so He answers Himself, saying, "To God Who is One alone, 
victorious ! " 

Then He does something even more awesome; taking the 
heavens on one finger and the earths on another finger 
/40/ He twirls them around, saying, "I am the King! I am 
the King! Where are those who worship other than Me, 
apart from Me, ascribing partners to Me, while yet par- 
taking of My sustenance? Where are those who found the 
power to do evil through the comforts I have provided 
them? Where are the tyrants? Where are the ones who 
were haughty and proud? To Whom belongs the kingdom 
today if not to Me!" 

Thus He remains, may He be glorified and exalted, 
for as long as He wishes. From the Throne to the sea 68 
not a rational living creature remains, and God deafens 
the ears of the hur and the beautiful young men [wuldan] 

69 • 

in the Garden . 

Then God opens up a well-spring in Hell [saqar] and 
tongues of flame leap out of it, igniting the fourteen 
seas as if they were fluffy wool, so that not a single 
drop remains. The earths become like black charcoal 
and the heavens like turbid oil or molten copper. But 
just when the flames are about to engulf the visible 
parts of the sky, God drives back the fire with one 
stroke; the flames die down for a thousand years and do 
not rise up again. 

Finally God opens one of the treasurehouses of the 
Throne in which is contained the sea of life. He causes 
it to rain upon the earth; it is like male sperm falling 
upon the parched, dead and barren ground, /41/ which 
then begins to quiver with life.^° The rain continues 
to fall until it covers the entire earth, and the water 
upon it is four cubits deep. 


DURRA / 47 

At that point each body begins to grow from the 
coccyx [al-° us°us ] . There is a tradition which says that 
man begins from the tail bone and from it he also will 
return. 7 ^ Another version says that man disintegrates 
completely except for the tail bone; from it he begins 
and from it he will return. This is a bone correspon- 
ding to a chickpea in size, with no marrow. From it the 
bodies grow in their graves just as plants grow, until 
they become intertwined with each other — this head on 
those shoulders, this arm on that side and this thigh on 
that rump. This is because of the great number of people, 
and it is the meaning of His having said, ?We know how 
much of them the earth takes away, for with Us is a well- 
guarded Book . ? [S 50:4] In this is a great mystery which 
we have noted in our book al-Ihya' . When the re-formation 
is completed, each person is as he used to be: the boy 

is a boy, the old man is an old man, the adult is an 
adult, the youth is a youth, and the young man is a young 
man . 

The Glorious one, glorified be His majesty, orders 
from under the Throne a rushing wind, in which there is 
an ethereal fire. By it the earth is stripped, so that 
no elevation and no undulation and no curvature remain. 

The mountains are returned to sand like a level dune. 

- - 72 

Then God raises to life /42/ Israfil, who blows 


the trumpet on the rock of Bayt al-Maqdis. The horn 
is composed of forty circles of light, each circle like 
the circumference of the sky and the earth. In it are 
holes equal to the number of created spirits; the spirits 
go out with a drone like the droning of bees, filling the 
entire space from the East to the West. Then with God's 
guiding inspiration every soul goes to its body, the 
beast and the bird and all those creatures having a 
spirit [ruh}.~*^ 

The whole scene accords with God's having said, 
{...Then a second blast will be blown, while they are 

standing and watching? [S 39:68] and {Then there is a 
single cry, and lo! they are on a plain? [S 79:13-14] 

The sahira is the level earth. After being resurrected 
they open their eyes and look at the mountains blown 
away and the seas drained and the earth with no crook- 
edness and no curvature. Al-amt [curvature] refers to 
that which is raised, like a hill, and a l- awaj [crook- 
edness] of the earth is a depression, like a lowland. 

But now the earth becomes level as if it were a sheet 
of paper, /43/ and the people are amazed when they look 
at the desert. Each one of them is on his grave, naked 
and staring in astonishment with his head bowed, ponder- 
ing and considering the sight. They have no clothes on, 
as the Messenger of God is recorded in the Sahih to have 
said, "People will be resurrected barefooted, naked and 
uncircumsized , except one group who died as believers 
away from home and were not shrouded. They are resur- 
rected dressed in clothing from the Garden." So it is 
with others from the community of Muhammad who have 
followed the sunna and have not departed from it [by even 
so much as would pass through] the eye of a needle. For 
the Messenger of God said, "Take great care in clothing 
your dead, for my community will be raised in their 
shrouds, while the rest of the nations are naked." Abu 
Sufyan 76 related that on good authority. And the Proph- 
et also said, "The dead person will be raised in his 
clothes." This latter seems to us to be the most cred- 
ible of what has been reported. 

One person, knowing he was about to die, said, 

"Dress me in such and such clothing." His wishes were 

not carried out, however, so that he died in a nightshirt 

with nothing /44/ else on. After a few days he was seen 

in a dream, appearing to be very sad. "How are you?" he 

was asked, but he refused to say much, replying only, 

"You have denied me my clothing, therefore you cause me 

7 7 

to be raised up in this nightshirt and nothing else!" 


DURRA / 49 

CHAPTER [This section concerns] the period 

between the two soundings of the trumpet. Here is the 
second death, because it involves constraint of the 
inner senses, while the bodily death is constraint of 
the outer senses. For although the bodies perform 
physical movements, they do not themselves actually 
pray or fast or worship. Even if an angel were made to 
enter a corpse it would not stay there because of its 
desire to take form in its own world. The soul is a 
simple substance, and when it is linked to the body, 
life and activity automatically follow. 

There are differences of opinion concerning the 
length of time between the two blasts of the trumpet. 

/45/ The majority agree that it is forty years, but one 
whose knowledge and wisdom cannot be doubted told me 
that no one finally knows the duration of that period 
but God, as it is one of the divine secrets. He also 
told me that the sole exception to this is reserved by 
God for Himself. I asked him the meaning of the Proph- 
et's having said, "I will be the first for whom the 
earth will be cleft on the day of resurrection, and I 
find my brother Moses taking hold of the foot of the 
Throne. I do not know if he will be resurrected ahead 
of me or if he is among those whom God exempts." He 
replied, "This saying is not an exception to what we 
have already affirmed about the resurrection of the souls 
without bodies, because Moses at that time will not have 

a body." Perhaps the exemption with which the Prophet 


was concerned relates to the question of dread. For 

humanity at the time of the lightening-bolt will be 

terrified, as Ka bonce said concerning that situation 

c — 79 

when he was in the council of Umar ibn al-Khattab, 

"0 Ibn al-Khattab, even if you could claim the works 
of seventy prophets, I think that you would not be saved 
from that day. ” For no one will be saved from the day 
/46/ except the people whom God exempts from the 

enormity of the terror and the lightening bolt. They 
are the people of the fourth station, and there is no 
doubt that Moses is one of them. 

The exemption is from the experience of fear, not 
from being alive. For if there were at that time anyone 
who could respond to God when he was asked, "To Whom 
belongs the kingdom this day?" he would cry, "To You Who 
are One alone, victorious!" 

CHAPTER At that moment everyone is equal, each 

sitting upon his grave. Among them are the naked and 

the clothed, the black and the white. There are some 

whose light is like a weak lamp, some whose light is like 

a strong shining lamp, some whose light is like a bright 

star, some whose light is like the moon, and some whose 

8 0 

light is like the light of the sun. Each one of them 
remains with his head bowed, unaware of what is happening 
to him; this continues for a thousand years until there 
appears from the West a light accompanied by a tremendous 
noise. And the heads of all creatures — humans, jinn, 
birds and beasts — turn in astonishment toward it. /47/ 

Then the works of each creature come and say to him, 

8 1 

"Rise up and prepare for the resurrection!" At that 
time whoever has [done] good deeds will see them like a 
ship on which he can ride. But there are some whose 
deeds appear in the form of a mule, or a donkey, or a ram 
on which one sometimes can ride but from which he some- 
times gets thrown. 

Each of them is given a radiating light in front of 
him, as well as another like it on his right, shining 
ahead into the shadows. This conforms to His word, t... 
their light goes forward in front of them and on their 
right ... f [S 66:8]. There is no light on their left, only 
black shadows, impenetrable by human eyesight. The kafirs 
are lost in it and the doubters try to draw away from it, 
but the believer sees into the intensity of its blackness 
and the depth /48/' of its darkness, praising God for the 

DURRA / 51 


light he has been given to guide him through that diffi- 
culty and to remain before him. For God reveals to the 
blessed and faithful servant the conditions of those 
wretched ones who are punished, in order to make abso- 
lutely clear to him the superior way. Thus it was written 
about the people of the Garden and the people of the 
Fire, {Then he looked and saw him in the midst of Hell.p 
[S 37:55] He also has said, {Then their eyes turned 
toward the companions of the Fire, saying, "Our Lord! do 
not place us among the evildoers ! "f [S 7:47] There are 
four things whose value is known only to four [categories 
of people] : none knows the value of life except the 

dead, none knows the value of health except the sick, 

none knows the value of youth except the aged, and none 

8 2 

knows the value of abundance except the poor. 

There are also some people whose lights go along on 
their feet and on the tips of their fingers; sometimes 
they are extinguished, and other times they burn brightly. 
The lights of individuals at the resurrection are in 
direct proportion to their faith, and the speed of their 
steps in proportion to their good works. 

The Messenger of God was asked, "How are people 
resurrected, 0 Messenger /49/ of God?" He replied, 

"Two on a camel and three on a camel and four on a camel 
and five on a camel and ten on a camel." The meaning of 
that hadith, which God knows best, is that God has mercy 
on those who are in Islam and creates for them out of 
their works a camel on which they ride. This reference 
is actually to the works considered weak, since they have 
to ride several together on a camel. They are like people 
going out on a far journey; no one of them having the 
wherewithal to buy an animal, they ride all together along 
the road. But how can the camel, with ten men on it, 
reach the destination? This is what is meant by weak 
deeds, as for example when one holds tightly to his money 
refusing to give it in alms. But even with that, God 
ordains him to safety [if he is in the community of Islam]- 

So do the work to which God has guided you, that there 
may be a special camel for you alone, and know that such 
is a profitable enterprise! 

The pious travelers are in accord with the word 

of al-Jalil, tOn that day We shall see gathered those who 

are righteous /50/ before the All-Merciful in a dele- 

8 3 

gation.f [S 19:85] A rare narrative relates that the 
Messenger of God said to his companions, "There was once 
a Jew who did so many good works that he will be resur- 
rected among all of you." The companions replied, "O 
Messenger of God, what did he do?" He answered, "He 
inherited a great deal of money from his father, and he 
spent it on a garden which he devoted entirely to the 
poor, saying, 'This is my garden in the presence of God.' 
Then he distributed many gold pieces among those in bad 
circumstances, saying, 'With this I purchase a slavegirl 
with God, be He exalted, and male slaves! Then he set 
free many captives, saying, 'These are my servants with 
God.' One day he noticed a person who was blind, and saw 
him sometimes walking and sometimes falling flat. So 
he bought a riding animal for the man to travel on, say- 
ing, 'This is my animal for me to ride in the presence 
of God.' By Him in Whose hand is my life, I can almost 
see it coming with saddle and bridle so that he can ride 
it and travel toward the place of resurrection!" 

It is said /51/ in the explanation of His word, 
fls the one who walks with his head bowed better guided, 
or the one who walks evenly on the straight path?f 
[S 67:22] that it is a parable which God has drawn to the 
day of resurrection concerning the gathering together 
of the mu’mins and the kafirs . And His having said, tWe 
shall drive the sinners into jahannam like a thirsty 
herd? [S 19:86] is said to mean walking on their faces, 
because the One Who makes them walk in this world on 
their feet has the power to make them walk in the here- 
after on their faces. This is the interpretation of some 
of the Qur'an commentators, and it is supported by His 


word, f...We shall gather them together on the day of 
resurrection on their faces...)P [S 17:97] But the 
matter is not as they have said; the real meaning is 
that the sinner sometimes walks and sometimes topples 
over on his face. That is explained further in that 
God mentioned feet when He said, f...and their feet [will 
bear witness against them] for what they have done.f 
[S 24:24] 

For the phrase f... blind, dumb and deaf...)* 


[S 17:97] there is an interpretation different from 
that favored by the commentators, one that departs from 
the symbolic expression to which we have called your 
attention. You may have noticed that the Arabs use this 
expression, saying, "So and so walks on his face", mean- 
ing that he has fallen forward. The actual meaning of 
"blind" here is that one is removed from the light that 
shines /52/ in front of believers, and does not share 
their faith. The intent cannot be total blindness, be- 
cause there is no question about their seeing the sky 
rent asunder with the clouds and the angels descending 
and the mountains levelled and the stars spread out and 
all of the conditions of the day of resurrection. This 
is the interpretation of His saying, tls this sorcery, 
or do you not see?f [S 52:15] , and it means that the 

blind at the resurrection are those who are plunged into 

8 5 

darkness and prevented from gazing at the Generous One, 
even though the light of God radiates the white earth. 

A covering is placed upon their eyes so that they can see 
nothing of that [amazing sight] . 

And in the same way their ears are covered so that 
they cannot hear the word of God and the angels crying, will have no fear or sadness on that day... enter 
the Garden, you and your spouses, rejoicingly [S 43:68, 

DURRA / 53 

They are also deprived of speech as if they were 
dumb, such as is explained by His saying, {That day they 
will not be able to speak, nor will they be allowed to 
offer excuses . f [S 77:35-6] They will be completely 
helpless, weak and unable to do a thing. Even if they 
actually had the capability, it would be as if it were 
lacking, a condition without a condition, [as it were]. 

There are some people who are raised up with their 
earthly /53/ temptations. One person may be tempted by 
the c ud to which he was devoted in his life. When such 
a one is resurrected from his grave he will take the a ud 
in his right hand and fling it from him, saying, "Away 
with you! you have kept me from the remembrance of God!" 
But it will return to him and say, "I am your companion 
f... until God decides between us, and He is the best of 
judges . f [S 7:87; cf. 10:109] In the same way the drunk- 
ard will be raised drunk, and the piper piping. Every 
one again finds himself in the condition which turned 
him away from the path of God. Similar to this is the 
hadith related in the Sahih which says that the drinker 
of wine will be raised up with the wine-pot hanging from 
his neck, cup in hand, while he will smell fouler than 
any corpse on the face of the earth, and every creature 
who passes by him will curse him. 

The dead are also raised with the evidence of any 
injustices done to them; the Sahih relates that the one 
killed in the service of God will arrive on the day of 
resurrection with his wounds flowing — the blood with 
the color of blood but the smell /54/ of musk — until 
he finally comes before God. 

Then the angels hand over the dead in groups and 

bands, each individual raised in his own state, mounted 

8 7 

on that which has been ordained for him. They are 
gathered without distinction, the first [to die mixed in] 
with the last. The Glorious One orders the angels of the 
near heaven to take care of them. Every one of them 
takes one of the resurrected, including people, jinn, 


DURRA / 55 

animals and birds. They transport them to the second 
earth, which is an earth white with silvery light. The 
angels rank behind the creatures in one great ring, and 
they number more than ten times the people of the earth. 
Then God gives a command to the angels of the second 
earth, and they make a single circle around them all. 

They number twenty times the others. Then the angels 
of the third heaven descend and surround /55/ them all 
in a single circle, and they are thirty times the others 
in number. Then the angels of the fourth heaven descend 
and circle behind them all, making a single ring and 
numbering forty times more than the others. They are 
followed by the angels of the fifth, sixth and seventh 
heavens who all descend and circle behind them in single 
circles, numbering fifty, sixty and seventy times 
respectively more than all the rest. 

At that time all of creation blends and mixes to- 
gether, one on top of the other, until one foot is raised 
above a thousand other feet by the density of the throng. 
And people are plunged into sweat of different kinds, up 

to their chins or their chests or their groins or their 

8 8 

shoulders or their knees. Some are overcome by a light 
perspiration, as if seated in a hot bath, and others by 
moisture as happens to the thirsty person when he drinks 
water. Those who are wet with sweat are those who have 

_ O Q 

thrones [manabir ] , those with light perspiration are 

those who have chairs, those [up to their] /56/ ankles 

are those who died of drowning. The angels call to them, 

saying will have no fear on that day, neither will 

you be sad.JF [s 43 :68] Someone knowledgeable about such 

things told me that they are the repentant, like Fudayl 
c - 90 

ibn Iyad and others. The Prophet used to say that the 
one who repents of sins is as if he had no sin, and that 
is the generally accepted opinion. These, then, are the 
three kinds — the people with a great amount of sweat. 

those with light perspiration and those in sweat up to 
their ankles. They have white faces, while the faces 
of the others are black. 

How could there not be great agitation, what with 
the sweat and the sleeplessness, for the sun approaches 
so close to their heads that one could touch it by ex- 
tending his hand. The heat of the sun is increased 
seventy times the normal, as one of the ancestors said, 
"If the sun rose over the earth the way it will on the 
day of resurrection, the earth would be charred and the 
rocks would melt and the rivers would dry up." 

So all of creation is in a great commotion, on that 
white /57/ earth which God mentioned when He said, tThe 
day when the earth will be changed into something not 
the earth ... f [S 14:48] . People are in different 
groups at the place where they are gathered together. 
Rulers from among the people of the earth are like atoms, 
as has been related in a narrative describing the impe- 
rious. It is not that they actually become atoms, but 
that they are stepped on until they resemble atoms in 
their humiliation and debasement. 

Some people are drinking water which is cold, sweet 

and clear; this is because children move around their 

parents with cups of water from the rivers of the Garden 

for them to drink. One of the ancestors has related 
that while he was sleeping he dreamed of the coming of 
the resurrection. It was as if he were actually there, 
parched of thirst, and he saw small boys giving drink to 
people. "I called to them," he related, "saying ’Give 
me a drink of water.' And one of them said to me , 'Do 
you have a son among us?' 'No,' I answered. 'Then Noi ' 

came the reply.” Therein /58/ is the advantage of 
9 2 

marriage. We have mentioned these children who give 
drink to the thirsty people in the Kitab al-Ihya' ■ 


A shadow is spread over the heads of certain people. 
Keeping the heat away from them. These are the good and 
sincere folk. For them this condition continues for a 
thousand years, until they hear the sound of the horn 
[naqur ] , which we have described in the Kitab al-Ihya ' , 
and which is one of the mysteries of the Qur'an. 93 At 
this sound hearts are terrified and eyes are filled with 
fear, so strong is its blast. The heads of believers 
and kafirs alike turn expectantly toward it, thinking 
that this is a punishment intended to augment the terror 
of the day of resurrection. 

Then eight angels come bearing the Throne, the meas- 
ure of their pace being equal to the distance traveled 
in 20,000 years. The various groups of angels and clouds 
give glory to God with voices so filled with great ex- 
citement that one cannot imagine it, until the Throne is 
settled on that white earth which God created for this 
special purpose. Then heads /59/ bow, souls are silent 
and all creation is afraid — even the prophets are ter- 
rified and the a ulama' are filled with fear and the 
saints and martyrs seek to flee from the punishment of 
God against which nothing can prevail. 

And while they are like that, they are flooded by 
a light from God greater than the light of the sun to 
whose heat they were subjected. They continue to be 
very restless and agitated, all together, for a thousand 
years, with the Glorious One, glorified be He, speaking 
not a single word to them. So the people go to Adam and 
say to him, "0 Adam, O father of mankind, this matter is 
lasting a long time:" (As for the kafir, he says, "O 
my Lord, release me, even if it be to the Fire, from the 
intensity of the terror seen!") Then they say, "O Adam, 
you are the one whom God created by His hand, /60/ and 
to whom He caused His angels to - bow down, breathing His 
spirit into you. Seek forgiveness for us with your Lord 
in the meting out of judgment, for the situation has 
gone on and on, and the press of the throng has 

DURRA / 57 

intensified. Let all come to pass as God wills and let 

His desires be fulfilled. " So Adam says to them, "Truly 

9 4 

I disobeyed God when He forbade me to eat of the Tree, 
therefore I am ashamed to speak to Him about this matter. 
But go to Noah [Nuh] , for he is the first of the messen- 
gers.’’ 95 So they stop for a thousand years, taking 
counsel with each other concerning what is going on. 

Then they go to Noah and say to him, "You are the first 
of the messengers," mentioning to him the same things 
they told Adam and seeking his intercession in adjudica- 
ting between them. Noah answers them, "Truly I cried 
out unto God, by which I caused all the people of the 
earth to be drowned. So I am ashamed before God /61/ to 
ask Him such a thing. 95 But hurry along to Abraham, for 
he is the friend of the Merciful One [khalil al- Rahman] , 
and f ... he is the one who gave you the name of Muslims 
from before . . .f [S 22:78]; perhaps he will intercede 
for you. " 

So they take counsel with each other for a thousand 
years, then go to Abraham, saying to him, "O Abraham, 

0 father of the Muslims, you are the one whom God has 
taken as His beloved [khalil], so intercede for us with 
Him. Perhaps He will render judgment with respect to 
creation." And Abraham replied to them, ”1 lied three 
times in the matter of Islam; 9 ^ I disputed with [my 
people] about the din of God, and I am embarrassed before 
God to ask intercession in this situation. But go to 
Moses, for God took him as spokesman [kalim] and drew him 
near as confidant. It may be that he will intercede for 
you. " 

So again they take counsel with each other for a 
thousand years while the intensity of their circumstance 
increases and the place becomes more confined. Then they 
go to Moses and say to him, "0 Son of Imran, you are 
the one whom God took as spokesman. He drew you near as 
confidant and revealed to you the Torah; so intercede 
for us with your Lord in the meting out of judgment, for 


the situation has gone on and on and the press of the 

crowd has intensified; we are being stepped on and the 

people of kufr and islam alike are crying out in the 

depths of longing." But Moses answers them, /62/ saying, 

"Truly I asked God to punish the people of Pharaoh by 

years and to make them- an example to others, and I 
. 99 

also killed someone. Therefore I am ashamed before 
God to ask intercession with Him in this matter, be- 
cause of the secret conversation that has passed between 
us. In this conversation there appeared a suggestion of 
damnation lhalak] , except that He is the possessor of 
bounteous mercy and is the Lord of forgiveness. But go 
to Jesus, for of all the messengers he gives the greatest 
certainty and is the most knowledgeable about God, the 
purest in asceticism, and the most profound in wisdom. 
Perhaps he will intercede for you." 

So they take counsel with each other for a thousand 
years while the intensity of the circumstance increases 
and the place becomes even more straitened, saying, "How 
long must we go from messenger to messenger and from one 
noble being to another?" Then they go to Jesus and say 
to him, "You are the Spirit of God and His Word and you 
are the one whom He has designated as leader of this 
world and the next. So intercede for us in the meting 
out of judgment." But Jesus says, "Truly my mother and 
I have been taken as gods, apart from God. 100 How could 
I intercede for you when I have been worshipped along 
with Him and designated as His son and He called my 
father? Do you not see that if one of you has a purse 
containing some money and there is a seal on it, he is 
unable to get /63/ to what is in the purse before the 
seal is broken?" They reply, "Yes, 0 prophet of God." 

So he says to them, "Go to the chief of the messengers, 
the seal of the prophets 101 the brother of the Arabs. 

For his prayer is reserved as an intercession for his 

community; his own people caused him great suffering by 


bruising his forehead, breaking his teeth and setting 

DURRA / 59 

up a relationship between him and the Jinn. 101 But he is 

the highest of them all in glory and the greatest of them 

t 104 

in nobility. He used to say, as al-Siddiq said to his 
brothers, {No reproach is upon you this day, for God for- 
gives you and He is the most merciful of those who have 
mercy. f [S 12:92]" Then Jesus begins to recite for them 
the virtues of the Prophet. Because their ears are 
willing to hear, their souls are filled with desire to go 
to him. 

So they come to his throne and they say to him, "O 
Messenger of God, you are the beloved of God and the 
beloved is the most excellent of mediators, so intercede 
for us with God. 105 For we went to our father Adam and 
he sent us to Noah; we went to Noah and he sent us to 
Abraham; we went to Abraham and he sent us to Moses; we 
went to Moses and he sent us to Jesus. So we went to 
Jesus and he sent us to you, may the blessing and peace 
of God be upon you. After you there is no one else to 
ask and apart from you no place of refuge." 

And the Prophet says, "I am the right one! I am the 
right one [to intercede] insofar as God allows it for 
whomever He wills and chooses." Proceeding /64/ toward 
the pavilions of God, the Prophet asks permission and it 
is granted to him. Then the veils are raised and he 
enters into the Throne, falling down in prostration; and 
the prostration lasts for a thousand years, while he is 
praising God with praise such as no one has ever before 
offered. One of the gnostics said that that is the 
praise with which God praised Himself on the day in which 
He concluded His creation; the Throne trembles in tribute 
to Him. This has been treated previously in the Ih ya' ■ 

Meanwhile the place where the people are waiting 
becomes increasingly confined, and as their situation 
gets worse their fear intensifies and terror comes over 
them in waves. The things about which they had been 
niggardly on earth now surround each one of them. The 
one who refused to give a camel as alms carries on his 


DURRA / 61 

back a braying camel weighing as much as a huge mountain. 
The one who refused the almsgiving of a cow carries on 
his back a bellowing bull as heavy as a huge mountain. 

The one who refused to give a sheep carries on his back 
a bleating ewe, the weight of a huge mountain. The one 
who refused to give a goat bears on his back a bleating 
and crying billygoat again as heavy as a huge mountain. 
The braying and the bellowing and the bleating and the 
crying are like roaring thunder. 

The one who refused to offer crops in alms carries 
on his back a pair of sacks filled /65/ with the things 
he used to withhold, either wheat or barley, crying out 
from under it in affliction and lament. And the one who 
refused the almsgiving of money carries a bald monster 
with zabibatan its tail falling into his nose and 
coiling around his neck; it is so heavy on his shoulders 
that he might have put on a necklace of all the mill- 
stones on earth. Everyone is crying out,“What is this?", 
and the angels reply to them, "This is what you held on 
to so tightly while on the earth, being greedy and 
niggardly about it!” Thus has He said, f...That which 
they held on to will be tied to their necks on the day 
of resurrection . .. f [S 3:180] 

There are some for whom the pudenda enlarge and 
pus streams out, their neighbors becoming nauseated from 
the putrid smell. Others are impaled on stakes of fire, 
while the tongues of still others hang out on their 
chests in a repulsive fashion. These are the fornicators, 
the sodomites and the liars. The bellies of some people 
swell like huge mountains; they are the usurers. To 
whomever has sinned, /66/ the likeness of his sin appears 
in visible form. 

CHAPTER Then the Glorious One, glorified be He, 
calls: "0 Muhammad, lift your head and speak, for you 

will be heard; seek intercession and it will be granted." 
So the Prophet says, "0 my Lord, adjudicate between your 
worshippers , f or their circumstance has been 

greatly drawn out and every one of them has been shown 
his sins in the arena of the resurrection." Then comes 
the cry, "Yes, O Muhammad!”, and God commands that the 
Garden be adorned and brought near. So it .is brought, 
with its lovely fresh breezes, the most fragrant and 
delicious imaginable, that can be felt from a distance 
of five hundred years. It refreshes the souls and 

gives life to the hearts, except to those whose works 
on the earth were evil, for to them its breezes are 
forbidden. The Garden is placed on the right of the 
Throne . 

Then God commands that the Fire be brought. It 
shakes with fear and terror and says to the angels sent 
to it, "Do you know, did God create creation in order 
that I should suffer by it?" And they say to it, "No, 
by His power! He has sent us to you so that you might 
take vengeance on whomever of His creation has disobeyed 
Him, and for such /67/ a day as this you were created." 

So they bring the Fire, which walks on four legs and 
is bound by seventy thousand reins. On each of the reins 
are seventy thousand rings; if all the iron in the world 
were collected it would not equal that of one ring. On 
every ring are seventy thousand guardians of hell; if 
even one among them were ordered to level the mountains 
or to crush the earth he would be able to do it. 

The Fire makes sounds like the braying of a donkey, 
moaning and roaring, with sparks and smoke flaring up 
so that the horizons are covered by darkness. And when 
there is still the distance of a thousand years between 
it and creation, the Fire slips away from the group of 
the guardians and approaches the people of the place of 
judgment, clattering and thundering and moaning. "What 
is that!" one cries. “That is jahannam," another replies, 
"escaped from the hands of the guardians of hell, and so 
powerful is it that one cannot avoid its grasp!" Every- 
one falls on his knees, even the messengers. Abraham, 
Moses and Jesus cling to the Throne, the one forgetting 


DURRA / 63 

— ^09 

al-dhabih, the next forgetting Aaron, and the third 

forgetting Mary [Maryam] . And each one of them cries, 

"0 Lord, my soul! my soul! I will not ask of you any- 
thing else /68/ on this day!” 

It is related that even the Messiah says, "0 Lord, 
my soul and my mother! I will not ask of you anything 
else on this day, for it is the most important thing to 
me." But the Prophet Muhammad says, "My community! my 
community! 0 Lord, preserve it and save it!" 

At the place of judgment there is not a one whose 
legs can hold him, as He has said, {You will see every 
community bowing down, for every community is called to 
its Book of Record... f [S 45:28] At the time when the 
Fire escapes, everyone falls down [in fear] of its wrath 
and rage. Thus is his word, {When it sees them from a 
far distant place, they hear it raging and moaning . f 
[S 25:12] God has said, {Almost splitting with rage...{ 
[S 67:8], meaning that it is almost cleft in two halves 
from the intensity of its wrath. 

Then by the command of God the Messenger of God 
appears and seizes the Fire by its halter, saying to 
it, "Turn around and go back until the crowd comes that 
is destined for you." And the Fire replies, "Get out of 
my way, for you, 0 Muhammad, are taboo to me!" Then 
comes a cry from behind the pavilions of al-Jalal, 
"Listen to him and obey him! " So the Fire is taken and 
put on the left side of the Throne. Those gathered at 
the place of judgment talk about its being taken there 
and their fear abates some. Thus is /69/ His word, 
fWe have not sent you except as a mercy to the world. { 

[S 21:107] 

So there is a balance set up, and it is made of 
two scales: a scale on the right of the Throne made of 

light and a scale on the left of the Throne made of 
darkness. Then al-Jalil uncovers His leg.'*'^ All the 
people prostrate themselves, glorifying Him out of 
humility before His greatness, except for the kafirs who 

were polytheists for the days of their lives, worshipping 
stones and wood and such things as do not receive the 
power of God. The vertebrae of their backbones turn to 
iron so that they are unable to bow down, as He has said, 
{On the day when the shin is exposed and they are called 
to fall down in prostration, but are not able to.{ 

[S 68:42] Al-Bukharl relates in his commentary, citing 
authority, that the Messenger of God said, "God reveals 
His leg on the day of resurrection, and all the believers, 
male and female, bow down." 

I have been on guard against all allegorical inter- 
pretation of the hadith and disclaimed those who reject 

it. In the same way I have avoided /70/ describing 

the balance, considering the speech of those who describe 
it by similies to be in error, and have relegated it to 

the concerns of the Malakuti world. For good and evil 


actions are accidents and the weight of accidents 

cannot be gauged for certain but by a Malakuti balance. 

While people are bowing down in prostration, the 

Glorious One calls in a voice that can be heard by those 

far off as well as those who are near: "I am the King! 

I am the Judge!" Al-Bukhari related that God says, "The 

injustice of an oppressor does not surpass Me, for if it 

surpassed Me, I would be the oppressor." 

Then He judges the beasts and takes vengeance on 

the horned on behalf of the hornless. Separating the 

wild animals and the birds. He says to them, "Become 


as dust" as He spreads them level on the earth. At 
that time {...those who rejected and disobeyed the 
Messenger will wish that they could be made level with 
the earth... { [S 4:42] and the kafir will long for it, 
saying, {...Oh, if only I could be dust!”{ [S 78:40] 

Then the cry goes out from in front of God, "Where 
is the preserved tablet [lawh al-mahfuz ]?" It is brought 
to Him, and it is greatly agitated. So God says, "Where 
is that which has been recorded upon you from the Torah 
[tawrat ] , and the Psalms [zabur] , /71/ and the Gospel 


DURRA / 65 

[injil] , and the Qur'an Ifurqan]?" And the tablet 
replies, "The trusted spirit [Gabriel] took it from me." 
So Gabriel is brought, his legs and shoulders trembling 
and shaking, and God says, "0 Gabriel, this tablet claims 
that you carried away from it My word and My revelation. 
Is it telling the truth?" Gabriel answers, "Yes, O 
Lord. " So God says, "And what have you done with it?” 
to which Gabriel replies, "I gave the Torah to Moses and 
the Psalms to David [Da'ud] and the Gospel to Jesus and 
the Qur'an to Muhammad. And I gave to each messenger his 
message; to those who have received a revelation I gave 
that which has been revealed." 

Then comes the cry, "0 Noah!" and he is brought, 
his legs and shoulders trembling and shaking. God says, 
"0 Noah, Gabriel claims that you are one of the messen- 
gers." "He is correct," says Noah, and then he is asked, 
"What have you done with regard to your people?" He 
answers, "{...I have called to them night and day, but 
my call only increases their flight.)! 1 [S 71:5-6]" Then 
the cry comes, "0 people of Noah!” They are brought in 
a group and told, "This your brother Noah claims that he 
imparted the message to you." They reply, "0 our Lord, 
he is lying. Nothing was communicated to us!" and they 
deny the message. So God says, "0 Noah, do you have any 
evidence against them?" "Yes, 0 Lord," he answers, "my 
proof against them is Muhammad and his community." "How 
is that?" they all ask. "We are the first of the commu- 
nities and they are the last. " Then the Prophet Muhammad 
is brought and God says to him, "0 Muhammad, this is Noah 
/72/ who calls upon you to testify. Will you witness to 
his having transmitted the message?” So the Prophet 
recites, {Truly I have sent Noah to his people...? 

[S 71:1], to the end of the sura. Then al-Jalil says 
[to the people of Noah] , "Truth must be enjoined on you, 
and the word of punishment must be levied against the 
kafirs . " 

So He orders them all as a group to the Fire, with- 
out weighing individual deeds and without passing indi- 
vidual judgment. 

c- 114 

Then He calls, "Where is Ad?" And his people 

do with Hud as the people of Noah did with Noah. So the 

Prophet testifies against them, along with the best of 


his community, reciting, { Ad gave the lie to the messen- 
gers)^ [S 26:123], until the end of the story. Then God 
orders them as a single group to the Fire. 

Then He calls, "0 Salih, and 0 Thamud! " They are 
brought and he testifies against them concerning those 
things that they denied. So the Prophet recites, {Thamud 
gave the lie to the messengers? [S 26:141], to the end 
of the story. And God does to them the same as to the 
others. /73/ One community after another comes out — 
the Qur'an has told about them by way of illustration, and 
mentioned them as a reminder, as He has said, {...and 
many generations between them? [S 25:38] and {Then We 
sent our messengers in succession; every time a commu- 
nity's messenger came, they gave him the lie...? [S 23:44] 
and {...and those after them; only God knows. To them 
came their messengers with clear signs...? [S 14:9] In 
this there is a warning for those oppressive eras as 

[those of] the people of 115 and those like them, 

until the call reached the people of Rass and Tubba c 116 
and the people of Abraham. In each case they are not 
weighed on the balance nor is the reckoning applied to 
them; {...on that day will they be veiled from their 
Lord? [S 83:15] This is the interpretation given, 
because God cannot punish those whom He has seen or to 
whom He has spoken. 

Then He calls to Moses ibn c lmran and he is brought 
to Him, trembling as if he were /74/ a piece of paper 
in a blowing wind, with his face yellowed and his knees 
shaking. And He says to him, "0 Ibn c Imran, Gabriel 
claims that he communicated to you the message and the 
Torah. Can you witness to this communication?" "Yes!" 


DURRA / 67 

is the reply. God says, "Return to your throne and 
recite what has been revealed to you from the Book of 
your Lord." So he goes back to the throne and recites, 
while all who are in the place of resurrection listen to 
him. The Torah comes forth from him fresh and new with 
the same excellence as on the day it was revealed, so 
it seems to the rabbis [ al-ahbar ] as if they had never 
before heard it. 

Then God calls, "0 David!" And he comes, fearful 
as if he were a piece of paper trembling in a blowing 
wind, with shaking knees and yellowed face. And God says, 
"O David, Gabriel claims that he communicated to you the 
Psalms. Can you witness to this communication?" "Yes, 

O Lord," he replies. Then God says to him, "Go to your 
throne and recite what has been revealed to you." So he 
goes and recites, and his voice is the most beautiful of 
all men. In the Sahih it says that he is the master 
psalmist among the people of the Garden. 

Then the one killed before the Ark /75/ of God's 

presence hears his voice, bursts through the crowd and 
crosses over the rows of people until he reaches David. 

He hangs on to him, saying, "Did the Psalms not admonish 
you, that you still intended ill for me?" David becomes 
very embarrassed and is silent, dumbfounded. And the 
place of resurrection trembles because of what the people 
see happening to David. Then Uriah [Uriya'] takes hold 
of David and urges him on to God. The veil is drawn 
aside for them, and Uriah says, "O Lord, render justice 
to me from him. For he singled me out for destruction 

and made me fight before al-Tabut so that I was killed, 
then he married my wife, even though at the time he had 
ninety-nine others." So God turns to David and says to 
him, "Is he telling the truth?" And David answers, "Yes, 

O Lord. It was thus." And his head is lowered in shame 
before God and in expectation of the punishment to come 
from Him. Yet he is also hopeful because of God's promise 
of forgiveness. When he is afraid his head is lowered in 

shame before God, but when hope fills him he raises his 
head. Then God says to his companion, "I have given you 

in compensation such and such palaces, and such and such 

- 119 

of the hur and the beautiful youths; /76/ are you 

satisfied?" He answers, "Yes, O Lord, I am satisfied." 

Then He says to David, "Go, for I have forgiven you." 

Thus does God do with those whom He has honored. From 

the extent of His sustenance. He accords to them the 

greatest of His pardon. God then says to David, "Return 

to your throne and recite the remainder of the Psalms." 

So he goes then and carries out God's order. God commands 

of the tribe of Israel that they be divided into two 

groups — one the group of believers and the one the 

group of evildoers. 

Then He cries out, "Where is Jesus, son of Mary?" 
Jesus is brought, and He says to him, you say to 

people, 'Take me and my mother as gods, apart from God' 

?f[S 5:116]" Jesus lauds God as God would wish and 

extols Him with great praise. Then he rebukes and 
reviles himself, and says, "t... Glory be to you! It is 
not for me to say what I have no right to say. Had I 
said it. You would have known it. You know what is in 
my soul, though I do not know what is in Yours. Truly 
You are the One Who knows the unseen. f (S 5:116]" Then 
God smiles and says, "t...On this day those who are 
truthful will profit from their truthfulness. . .f 
[S 5:119] You are truthful, 0 Jesus, so go to your 
throne and recite the Gospel which has been communicated 
to you by Gabriel." And Jesus responds, "Yes, 0 Lord." 
Then he goes back /77/ and recites, and heads are lifted 
up toward him because of the beauty of his voice and 
his rendering of it. For he is the most judicious of 
mankind in relating matters, and he brings the Gospel 
fresh and new, so that even monks think that they have 
never known one verse of it. Then the Christians are 
divided into two groups, the wrongdoers with the wrong- 
doers and the believers with the believers. 


DURRA / 69 

Then the cry goes out, "Where is Muhammad?" He is 
brought, and God says to him, "0 Muhammad, Gabriel 
claims that he has communicated to you the Qur'an." 

"Yes, 0 Lord," is the reply. So God says to him, 

"Return to your throne and recite." So he recites the 
Qur'an and it comes forth from him so fresh and new, 
with such sweetness and grace, that the believers and 
the pious rejoice in it. Their faces are flaughing, 
rejoicing) 1 [S 80:39] , while the faces of the wrongdoers 
are like dust, and rigid. 

The proof of this preceding interrogation of the 
messengers and the communities comes in His saying, 
tFor We shall question those to whom We sent a message, 
and We shall question the messengers) [S 7:6] and tone 
day God will gather the messengers and He will say, "What 
response have you gotten?" They will say, "We have no 
knowledge; /'78/ truly You are the One Who knows the un- 
seen.") [S 5:109] There are two points of view about 
this: some think that the messengers actually forget the 

correct response out of fear of what is coming; and some 
think that they say it in surrender to God, as the 
Messiah did when he said, t--*Had I said it, you would 
have known it. You know what is in my soul, though I 
do not know what is in Yours. Truiy you are the One Who 
knows the unseen.) [S 5:116] The first is the best ex- 
planation, as we have related in al-I h ya ' , because the 
messengers contend with each other for superiority; and 
the Messiah is among the most illustrious of them because 
he is the word of God and His spirit. 

When the Prophet recites the Qur'an, it seems to 
the [members of the] community that they have never 
before heard it. Someone once said to Asma c i,^^ "You 
assert that you have memorized the Book of God better 
than anyone," to which he replied, "O son of my brother, 
on the day I hear it from the Messenger of God, it will 
be as if I had never heard it at all." 

When the reading of the Book is concluded, the 
cry comes from behind the pavilions of the Glorious One, 
"tSeparate yourselves this day, oh you sinners!) 

[S 36:50]" The place of resurrection is shaken and a 
great terror arises there. The angels are mixed up with 
the jinn and the jinn with the sons of Adam, and all are 
in one great clamor. 

Then the call goes out, "Adam, /79/ send forth 
those of your children consigned to the Fire!" "How 
many, 0 Lord?" he asks, and God says to him, "Of every 
thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine go to the Fire and 
one to the Garden." So he continues to pull out from the 
rest the heretics and the negligent and the corrupt, 
until there remains only a handful of the Lord, as al- 
Sadlq [Abu Bakr] said, "We are a handful of the Lord." 

Then the others are bound together with the demons. 

For some people the balance is set up, and there the 

bad deeds of each outweigh the good deeds. Everyone to 

whom the Law came is inevitably brought to the balance. 

And when they are segregated and are certain that they are 

doomed, they say, "Adam has wronged us and the myrmidons 


have seized us by the forelock." Then comes the cry 

from before God, "1 There is no injustice on this day. 

Truly God is swift in reckoning.) [S 40:17]" A huge 
Book is pulled out for them, filling up the entire space 
between East and West, in which are recorded all of the 
acts of the creatures. There is no thing t.. .small or 
large but what is accounted for. They will find [a 
record of] what they did, ready for them; and your Lord 
will treat no one unjustly.) [S 18:49] That means that 
the deeds of creation are shown each day to God. Then 
God orders his noble and pure angels to transcribe them 
into the great Book, as /80/ He has said, t.- .Truly We 
have transcribed all that you do.) [S 45:29] 


DURRA / 71 

Then He calls to them individual by individual, 
and takes account of every one of them. Their feet and 
hands bear testimony, as He said tThis day shall their 
tongues and their hands and their feet bear witness to 
what they have done.f [S 24:24] 

It says in the tradition that one person among them 
stops in front of God, Who says to him, “0 you servant 
of evil, you are a disobedient wrongdoer!" He asks, 

"What have I done?" and God says, "There is evidence 
against you." Then his recorders are brought. "They 
lie about me!" he protests, and he argues his cause, as 
God has said, tOn the day when each soul is brought he 
will dispute concerning himself ... J [S 16:111] And then 
his mouth will be sealed, as He has said, ton that day 
We shall put a seal on their mouths, and their hands will 
speak to us and their feet will bear witness to what they 
have acquired. f [S 36:65] So his limbs testify against 
him and he is ordered to the Fire. Then his limbs begin 
to rebuke him, saying, "It is not our choice, t-.-God 
has made us speak; it is He Who makes everything speak 
• • -1 fS 41:21] " 

After this is concluded, they are pushed into the 
vaults of jahannam, and their voices break out in 
weeping and uproar. A great clamor is roused in them 
when the monotheists and the believers appear to them 
surrounded by angels, every one of them reciting and 
saying to them, t...This is your day which /81/ you have 
been promised . f [S 21:103] The greatest terror comes 
at four particular instances: at the blowing of the 

trumpet, at the escape of Hell from the hands of its 
keepers, at the bringing forth of the resurrection of 
Adam, and at the driving away of those [mentioned above] 
into the vaults [of jahannam] . 

Then only the believers, the Muslims, the doers of 
good works, the gnostics, the affirmers of revelation 
[siddiqun] , the martyrs, the righteous and the messen- 
gers remain at the place of resurrection. There are no 

_ 122 

doubters among them, nor hypocrites, nor Zindiqs. 

Then God says, "O people of the place of resurrection. 
Who is your Lord?" They answer, "God!" and He says to 
them, "Do you know Him?" They reply, "Yes!" Then an 
angel is revealed to them at the left of the Throne, so 
large that one could put the seven seas into the hollow 
of his thumb and they would not be visible. And he says 
to them , by God ’ s command , " I am your Lord ! " But they 
answer, "We take refuge in God from you!" Then an angel 
appears to them at the right of the Throne, so large 
that one could put the fourteen seas into the hollow of 
his thumb and they would not be visible. And he says, 
by God’s order, ”1 am your Lord!" But they reply, "We 
take refuge in God from you!" 

Then the Lord Himself appears to them in a form 
other than that in which they know Him and He says to 
them, "I am your Lord!" But they seek refuge in God 
from Him. Finally He appears to them in the form in 
which they have known and heard about Him. He smiles 
and they all bow down in prostration before Him, /82/ 
and He says, "Welcome to you." Then He moves along with 

them to the Garden, and they follow Him and He passes 
- 123 

over the Sirat with them. The people are m troups: 

the messengers, then the prophets, then the affirmers of 
revelation, then the doers of righteousness, then the 
martyrs, then the believers, then the gnostics. There 
will remain those Muslims among them who are prostrate 
on their faces, those who are confined on the A raf , 
and some of them are folk who fell short of the complete- 
ness of faith. Some of these will cross the bridge of 
Sirat in a hundred years, and others will cross it in 
a thousand, yet despite all that, the Fire will not burn 
any one who has seen his Lord with his eyes; his vision 
keeps him from harm. 


We have already talked about the circumstance of 

each of the Muslims and believers and the beneficent in 


our book entitled al-Istidraj . They are xn an un- 

restrained crowd/ moving back and forth with recurring 
hunger and thirst. Their lives disintegrate and their 
breath is like smoke. They drink from the Basin 
[Tiaud] 126 out of cups as numerous as the stars in the^^ 
sky, the water coming /83/ from the river of Kawthar. 

The extent of it is the same as from Jerusalem to 
San c a ' , from Aden to Medina. Thus the Prophet said, 

"My throne is at the Basin, i.e. on one edge of it, in 
terms of measurement and weight and extent. Those who 
are driven away from it are preoccupied at the bridge of 
Sirat by the evil of their shameful deeds." 

How many a person performing ablutions does not 
complete them well, and does not ask about the purity 
of the water used! And how many a one who prays does 
not genuinely inquire into his prayers, rather performing 
them by rote with no feeling of submission or humility! 

If an ant bites him he turns around. But as for those 
who know the majesty of God — should their hands and 
feet be cut off they would not move, such is their pre- 
occupation with reverence and contemplation. They know 
the rank of Him before whom they stand. 

It might happen that a man is stung by a scorpion 
in the courtroom of a prince, but he does not dare move 
and he is patient /84/ and respectful to the prince in 
that room. Such is the human situation with respect 
to a creature like him who has no power to harm or to 
aid his soul. So what, then, is the situation of the one 
who stands before God and His majesty and power and 
greatness and might! A story is told concerning the 
secretary of one of the sultans. When a prince threw 
something at him and the point of it pierced his foot, 
he was undisturbed and did not move until the prince 
got up. Yet, had an ant bitten him during his prayer, 

DURRA / 73 

he would have turned around and rubbed it off! Such is 
the disdain for what is due the majesty of God, be He 
exalted. Therefore the one who is heedless in this 
fashion is not allowed to pass over the bridge of Sirat. 
(In these narratives it is not necessary to describe 
completely the neglect of the performances of religious 
duty . ) 

There is also a story about a transgressor who knows 
that he is to come before God. His acts of injustice are 
brought to him, and those things in which he was ill- 
treated attach themselves to him. So God says to him, 
"Look above your head, 0 you to whom injustice has been 
done, /85/ for there is a palace so great that it 
astounds the vision." He says to him, "What is this,0 
Lord?” and God replies, "It is for sale. Buy it from 
Me." "I do not have the price with me," says the man, so 
God replies, "If you desist from oppressive acts toward 
your brother, the palace will be yours." And the man 
says, "I have done it, 0 Lord." Thus does God deal with 
repentant sinners, as is His word, t... Truly He forgives 
these who repent.) 1 [S 17:25] The repenter is the one who 
refrains from erring and never returns to it. David has 
been called a repenter, as have others of the messen- 
gers 128 in the narrative about the people of the place 
of resurrection. Mention has already been made of the 
different interpretations concerning this. 

In the Sahlh it says that the first thing God 
decides concerns cases of bloodshed, and the first to 
be given their recompense, are those who have lost their 
vision. On the day of resurrection God calls to the 
blind and says to them, "You are the most appropriate, 
that is, the most worthy to look at Us." Then He gives 
them life and says to them, "Go to My right." A white 
banner is awarded to them and put in the hand of 
Shu c ayb, 129 who goes /86/ in front of them. With them 
are angels of light, whose number only God can calculate. 


DURRA / 75 

conducting them in solemn procession as one would lead 
a bride; they pass on with them to the Sirat with the 
speed of lightening. Each of them is characterized by 
patience, forbearance and knowledge, as were Ibn 
c Abbas and those like him in this community.'^'*' 

Then the call comes, "Where are the people of 
affliction? He wants those who have infirmities!" So 
they are brought and God revivifies them with a saluta- 
tion in the sweetest of tongues; then He orders them to 
His right. To them is given a green banner, put in the 
hand of Job [Ayyub] , and he goes before them on the 
right. Those who have' suffered are characterized by 

patience, forbearance and knowledge, as were Aqil ibn 
t - 132 

Abi Talib, and those like him in this community. 

Then comes the call, "Where are the people of right- 
eousness?" They are brought to God and He welcomes them, 
saying what He wishes to say. Then He orders them to 
His right; a red banner is given to them, put in the 
hand of Joseph, who goes in front of them on the right. 
The righteous are characterized by patience, forbearance 
and knowledge, as were Rashid ibn Sulayman and those 
like him in this community. 

Then comes the call, "Where are those who love God?" 

They are brought to God and He welcomes them, saying what 

He wishes to say. Then He orders them to His right; a 

yellow banner is given them, placed in the hand of Aaron, 

and he goes before them on the right. Those who love 

God are characterized by /87/ patience and knowledge and 

forbearance, never annoyed nor displeased with any 

earthly circumstances, as were Abu Turab (by whom I mean 
c “ — — 133 

Ali ibn Abi Talib) and those like him in this 

Then the call comes, "Where are those who weep out 
of fear of God?" They are brought to God, and their 
tears when weighed against the blood of the martyrs and 
the ink of the °ulama' tip the balance. So He orders 
them to His right; a multi-colored banner is given them. 

because they wept for different reasons — one cried 
out of fear, another out of desire and a third in re- 
morse. The banner is put in the hand of Noah. The 
°u lama ' are distressed at this priority over them and 
they say, "It is our knowledge that has brought about 
their weeping!” Then comes the cry, "Gently, 0 Noah!" 
and the crowd stops. 

The ink of the °ulama' is then balanced against 
the blood of the martyrs, and the latter outweighs it. 

So God commands the martyrs to His right, and to them 
is given a saffron banner, put in the hand of John 
[YahyS] . Then the a ulama’ come in front of them, and 
distressed at this priority over them they say, "It is 
because of our knowledge that they fought so that in 
turn they were killed, thus we have more right than they 
to priority." /88/ So the Glorious One smiles and says 
to them, "You are with Me as are My prophets. Intercede 
for whomever you wish." So the alim intercedes for his 
neighbors and his brethren, and each of them orders an 
angel to call out among the people, "Here is Fulan, the 
a alim, who has been given permission to intercede for 
those who have helped him in some way , or who gave him 
a bite to eat when he was hungry or offered him a drink 
of water when he was thirsty. Let them stand before him 
so that he can intercede for them." (For in the Sahih 
it says that the first to intercede are the messengers, 
then the prophets, the the °ulama’ .) A white banner is 
given to them, and it is put in the hand of Abraham, for 
he is the one to whom the most revelations were given. 

Then comes the cry, "Where are the poor?" They are 
brought to God and He says to them, "Greetings to those 
for whom the world was a prison." Then He orders them 
to His right and gives them a yellow banner, placed in 
the hand of Jesus, who goes before them on the right. 

And still another cry comes, "Where are the rich?" They 
are brought to God, and He enumerates to them for five 
hundred years those things that have been given to them; 


DURRA / 77 

then He orders them to His right and gives them a multi- 
colored banner put into the hand of Solomon [Sulayman] , 
who goes before them on the right. /89/ 

In the traditions it says that there are four things 
against which one calls the witness of four [others] . 

The rich are called, along with those in a state of 
felicity, and to them is said, "What has kept you from 
the worship of God?" They reply, "He has given us power 
and happiness which has kept us from the pursuit of His 
truth in the earthly domain." Then comes the question, 
"Who has the greater fortune, you or Solomon?" "Defi- 
nitely Solomon!" they say, to which the reply is, "But 
that did not keep him from the pursuit of God's truth 
and perseverance in remembering Him." 

Then comes the question, "Where are the people of 
tribulation?" They are brought in groups and are asked, 
"What has prevented you from the worship of God?" They 
answer, "God has tried us in the earthly domain with all 
sorts of problems and maladies, keeping us from remem- 
brance of Him and uprightly following His truth.” So 
it is said to them "Who was the more afflicted, you or 
Job?" They reply, "Job, of course!" And the response 
comes, "But that did not keep him from following the 
truth of God and devoting himself to the remembrance of 
Him. " 

Then comes the [third] call, "Where are those who 
are in their prime, the elegant young men and the 
slaves?" They are brought /90/ and to them is said, 

"What kept you from the worship of God in the earthly 
realm?" They gave the reply, "He gave us beauty and 
lovely things by which we were tempted, and we were thus 
engaged in other than the pursuit of His truth." Then 
the slaves speak, saying, "We were occupied in the bonds 
of slavery on the earth." "Were you the most beautiful, 
or was Joseph [Yusuf]?" they are asked. "Naturally Joseph 
was!" they answer. So the reply comes, "That did not 

prevent him, though he was in the bonds of slavery, 
from following God's truth and devoting himself to His 
memory . " 

Then comes the [fourth] call, "Where are the poor?" 
They are brought in groups and the same question is 
asked, "What kept you from pursuit of God's truth?" 

They respond by saying, "God tested us in the earthly 
realm with miserable poverty which kept us from His 
truth." So they are asked, "Who was the most poor, you 
or Jesus?" to which they reply, "Jesus was!" And the 
answer comes, "But that did not keep him /91/ from 
following God's truth and devoting himself to remembering 
Him. " 

So whoever has been tested in one of these four 
categories, let him remember his companion [the one de- 
scribed here] ! The Messenger of God used to say in his 
prayer, "0 God, I take refuge with you from the tempta- 
tion of riches and poverty." Learn a lesson from the 
Messiah, for it is said that he had no purse at all, that 
he was dressed in the same woolen garment for twenty 
years, and that in his travels he had only a small mug 
and a comb. One day he saw a man drinking with his hand, 
so he threw the mug from his hand and never used it again. 
Then he passed by a man running his fingers through his 
beard, so he threw away the comb from his hand and never 
used it after that. 134 He used to say, "My feet are my 
riding animal, my houses are the caves of the earth, and 
my food is its plants and my drink its rivers. What 
riches are greater than this, 0 sons /92/ of Israel? Eat 
barley and wild onions, but beware of bread made from 
wheat, for you will not be grateful for it!" 

Thus on the day of resurrection a man is called and 
God says to him, "What was your condition in the earthly 
domain?" He replies, "I served You for five hundred 
years on an island surrounded by the sea. ' With nothing 
for company there but the remembrance of You, I fasted 


DURRA / 79 

and prayed until I died in prostration." So God says 
to him, "You are telling the truth; enter the Garden by 
My mercy." But the man answers, "No, 0 Lord, rather by 
my acts!" So God says to him, "Come now, so that I may 
settle the account with you, 0 servant of mine. Who 
gave you the ability to worship for five hundred years 
on an island, fasting and praying?" And he replies, 
“You, O Lord." Then God says, "Who made a pomegranate 
tree grow up for you, every day bearing lovely fruits 
by which you were nourished?" And the man says, "You, 

O Lord." Then God says, "Who caused springs to gush 
forth with sweet water on that island surrounded /93/ 
by the bitter salt sea, such that you could drink of 
their water and wash from them?" He replied, "You, 

O Lord." And God continued, "Who answered you when 
you cried, '0 God, seize my spirit while I pray'?" 

And he answered, "You, 0 Lord." Then the balance is 
raised for him, and the service of five hundred years 
is not sufficient to outweight the blessing of even 
one glance, for the brilliance of that glance over- 
balances it. And God says, "Take him to the Fire." 

But then He turns him away from that path, and says with 
a smile, "Enter the Garden by My mercy; you have been 
a good servant, O My servant." 

In the same say a man is brought on the day of 
resurrection, and his account is settled. Then God 
orders him to the Fire, but he turns around on the path. 
So God says to Him, "Come back toward Me!" He comes to 
Him, and God says, "0 evil servant, why did you turn 
around?" He answers, "O Lord, I used to renounce You, 
yet I had hope in You; I died, yet I had hope in You; 

You judged me, yet I had hope in You; You ordered me 
to the Fire, and still I had hope in You; that is what 
made me turn toward You." /94/ So God says, "You have 
hoped generously, and placed your expectation in One 
Who is generous. Go, for I forgive you.” 

It may be that forgiveness will come from God at 
the time of reckoning, and calculation of man's due, 
except in cases of premeditated killing . That is never 
forgiven, as shirk is not, (unless one enters Islam from 
'shirk ) , except for him who fully repents of the killing 
and never returns to his wrongful ways. For the killer 
brings death to the one to whom God has given life. 

In some of the revealed books [these words are 

attributed to God] ; "0 Son of Adam, how you have done 

wrong! You have associated with Me in My work. Do you 

not see what you have done? I give life and you cause 

death. Wake up, 0 slayer, for you are competing with 

Me in a battle!" And in one of the revealed scriptures 

it says, "0 son of Adam, whether you do a deed that is 

good or evil in My sight, it is I who give you life in 

death and give you death in life. You desire the feeding 

of one who is starving, recompense for one who is 

wronged, /95/ and other such things that arise in the 

circumstances of life. Killing, then, whether deliberate 

or accidental, scorns atonement, so beware, for it is a 

135 . 

horrendous deed." As for major transgressions inter- 
cession may be hoped for those who commit them, once 
they are rectified and purified. 

Those who are more highly esteemed by God are taken 

out of the Fire after a thousand years, and they are 

charred black. Al-Hasan al-Basrl used to say in his 
* * 136 

discourse, "Oh, that I might be that man!" There 

is no doubt that he was knowledgeable concerning the 
judgments of the hereafter . 

On the day of resurrection a man is brought whose 
good deeds do not tip the scale, but are balanced by 
his evil deeds. So God, out of compassion says to him, 
"Go among the people and beg for someone to give you 
a good deed by which I can allow you to enter the 
Garden." So he goes searching through the worlds, but 
finds none who will talk to him about it. Everyone 
he asks says to him, "I fear that my own scale will be 


DURRA / 81 

lightened [on the credit side]. I have more need of 
good deeds than you do!" /96/ When he is about to give 
up hope, someone says to him, "What is it that you are 
seeking?" He replies, "One good deed. I have passed 
by people who have thousands of them, but they refused 
to give me any." So the man says to him, "I have already 
encountered God, and in my book was found only one good 
deed. I do not think that it will be any help to me, so 
take it as a gift from me to you." He hurries away 
with it, full of joy and delight. Then God says, "How 
did it go?", though of course He knows. And the man 


explains that such and such happened to him, "My gener- 
osity is broader even than your generosity. Go in the 
hand of your brother and enter the Garden." 

In like manner the two pans of the balance are 

equal for another man, so God says to him, "You are 

neither of the people of the Garden nor of the people of 

the Fire." Just then an angel arrives with a page, 

placing it on the pan with the evil deeds. On it is 

written "uff!" Thus the bad deeds outweigh /97/ the 
good, because that is a word of filial disobedience, 
outweighing the mountains of the earth. With it he is 
ordered to the Fire. But the man demands to be taken 
back to God, so God says, "Return him!" He then asks 
the man, "O you recalcitrant servant, why do you demand 
to be returned to Me?" And the man replies, "My God, 

I saw that I was travelling toward the Fire, with no 
question about it. Yes, I was disobedient toward my 
father while on earth. But he is also travelling toward 
the Fire like me; so double upon me the sins of my father 
and deliver him from them." Then God smiles and says, 
"You were disobedient to him on earth, but dutiful toward 
him in the hereafter. So take your father's hand and 
enter the Garden . “ 

None go to the Fire without first being stopped 
by the angels, out of their knowledge of the mysterious 
laws of the hereafter, so that they may call to people 
who are despicable and were created to be the firewood 
and the filling [of the Fire] , /98/ "tStop them, for 
they are to be questioned!)'" [S 37:24] So that group 
is held back until the cry goes out to them "tWhat is 
wrong with you that you do not help one another?)” 

[S 37:25] They give themselves up with tears and confess 
their transgressions. Thus did He say, fThey confess 
their transgressions, but [mercy is] far removed from 
the companions of the blaze [al-sa^ir ] . ) [S 67:11] When 
the guardians of hell see them, they are surrendering, 
all the while moaning and questioning each other, con- 
fessing yet complaining loudly of their punishment. Then 
comes the cry from before God, "t...far removed from 
the companions of the blaze.)" [S 67:11] And they are 
driven in one load to the Fire. 

In like manner those from the community of Muhammad 
who have committed major transgressions are brought, 

old men and women, middle-aged men and women and youths. 

— 138 

Then Malik, keeper of the Fire, looks at them and 
says, "Who are you, assembly of the wretched? What do 
I see? Your hands are not shackled and you are not 
wearing fetters or chains, and your faces are not black- 
ened. None has ever come to me in better condition than 
you!" So they reply, "0 Malik, we are the wretched of 
the community of Muhammad. Let us weep over our sins." 
Then he says to them, "Weep, but it will do you no good." 
And how many an old man puts his hand on his whiskers 
and laments for his old age and the length of his 
tribulation and the passing of his strength! How many 
a middle-aged one cries over the extent of his misfortune 
and the ignominy of his situation! How many a young 
person weeps for his youth and his sorrows and the loss 
of his beauty! How many a woman grabs onto her hair. 


DURRA / 83 

crying out over her iniquity and /99/ rending her gown. 
And they all weep for a thousand years. 

Then comes the call from God's direction, "0 Malik, 
drive them into the Fire through the first of its gates!" 
But just as the Fire is about to seize them, they all cry 
out together, "There is no God but God!" and the Fire 
flees from them a distance of five hundred years. They 
begin to sob, their voices rising in pitch, and then 
comes the call from God's direction, "0 Fire, seize 
them! 0 Malik, drive them into the Fire through the 
first of its gates!" At that they hear a great crashing 
noise, like the rumbling of thunder. Just as the Fire 
thinks that it is going to burn up their hearts, Malik 
pushes it back, saying to it, "You will not consume a 
single heart in which the Qur'an is to be found or which 
is a vessel of faith." When the guardians of hell come 
with boiling water to pour in their bellies, Malik drives 
them away, saying, "Do not pour boiling water into a 
single belly which has hungered during Ramadan. The Fire 
will not burn the foreheads of any lowered in prostration 
before the Merciful." So they are turned back, charred 
like blackened sinners, but with their faith glimmering 
in their hearts. /100/ 

There is also the instance of a man in the Fire 
whose cries are so loud that his voice is raised above 
that of any other of its inhabitants. He comes out, 
burned black, and God says to him, "Why is your voice 
louder than that of any of the other people of the Fire?" 
He replies, "0 Lord, You have held me accountable, but 
I have not given up hope of Your mercy!" So God says, 
"tWho despairs of the mercy of his Lord save those who 
have gone astray?? [S 15:56] Go, for I have forgiven 
you . " 

And in the same manner a man goes out of the Fire 
and God says to him, "You have gone out of the Fire, but 
what have you done to enter the Garden? He answers, 

"O Lord, I ask You only for one small thing.” So a 
-tree is raised up for him from among the trees of the 
Garden, and God says to him, "Do you not see that if I 
gave you this tree you would ask Me for something else?" 
But he answers, "No, may You be glorified, O Lord!" So 
God says, "Then this is a gift from Me to you." But 
while he eats of it and finds shade under it, another 
tree is raised up by it even more lovely. The man cannot 
keep from looking at it, so God says, "What are you 
doing? Perhaps you would like it." And he says, "Yes, 
Lord.” So God replies, "If I give it to you, you will 
just ask for something else." "No, may You be glorified, 
0 Lord," the man insists. So God says, "It is a gift 
from Me to you." While he is eating /101/ of it and 
enjoying its shade, yet another tree is raised up for 
him, more lovely than either of the others. He cannot 
help looking at it, but his Lord forgives him, because 
it is impossible for him to have patience concerning that 
which he sees. Then God says, "Perhaps you would like 
it." And he answers, "Yes, 0 Lord." "But if I give 
it to you," says God, "you will surely ask me for some- 
thing else." And the man insists again, "No, may You be 
glorified, O Lord. I will not ask for anything more." 
Then God smiles and leads him into the Garden, distrib- 
uting to him of its property double what he had on earth. 
(I have mentioned similar stories in the Ih ya ' . ) 

In [a work entitled] Tartib al-nasaq^ 3 it says 
that when God appears to the people He seizes the seven 
heavens in His right hand and the earths in His left. 

Thus is His word,t---He will seize the entire earth on 
the day of resurrection, and the heavens will be rolled 
up in His right hand...? [S 39:67] At the moment of the 
rolling up, the noise of their splitting is greater than 


DURRA / 85 

the crashing of rumbling thunder- Thus has He said, 

/102/ fOn that day We shall roll up the heaven like the 
rolling of the scroll [al-sijill] of the Book . . . } 

[S 21:104] ( Al-sijill is the name used for paper on 

which something is written; paper that has nothing 
written on it is called qirtas.) 

In a narrative of the Sahlh it says that God rolls 

up the earth just as one of you might roll up his bread 

for a journey. And another hadith relates that the 

first nourishment that the people of the Garden will 

take is an abundance of the liver of the fish on which 


are found the seven earths. It is grilled for them 

and given to them, along with the terrestrial earth, for 
on that day the earth will be like fresh bread. And in 

the Sahih it is related that they enter the Garden with 
' * ' 141 

the stature of Adam, smooth and beardless, their eyes 
anointed with kohl. On that day truth will be the 
measure. There is only the glance of an eye in time 

between the appearance of the two angels and the 

142 143 

form until the appearance of the Holy Form. 

And in /103/ some strange narratives about the 
ordinances of the hereafter it is related how people 
are brought to God, judged and reprimanded. Their good 
and evil deeds are weighed, during all of which it seems 
to each one that God certainly is not judging anyone 
else just then. In fact, however, it may be that at that 
instant thousands and thousands are being held to account, 
so many that they cannot be numbered except by God. And 
every one of them thinks that the reckoning is for him 
alone. In that way no one of them can see any of the 
others, nor hear what any other is saying; each one is 
under his own coverings. Glory be to Him to Whom belongs 
all of this, and glory be to Him Whose power and by the 
wonders of Whose wisdom it comes to pass. Frustrated, 
misguided and lost is he who magnifies other than God. 

This is the meaning of His saying, fYour creation and 

your resurrection are only as an individual soul...)' 

[S 31:28] He also said, tWe shall dispose of you, O 
you two classes [of humans and jinn]} [S 55:31], one of 
the wondrous mysteries of al-Malakut, for His dominion is 
limitless. Glory be to the One who does not allow any 
one concern to keep Him from attending to any other . 

In this situation a man is brought to his son and 
he says to him, "O /104/ my son, I provided clothing 
for you when you had not the means to clothe yourself. 

And I gave you food and drink when you were incapable of 
getting it on your own. I sustained you as a young 
child when you were unable to ward off any adversity 
and obtain that which would benefit you. How many fruits 
would I have liked for myself, but I bought them for 
you instead! What you see is sufficient to show you the 
terror of the day of resurrection. Now the evil deeds 
of your father are many. Take from me some of them — 
even one less would lighten my burden — and give me 
even one good deed so that I might add it to my balance." 
But the son flees from him, saying, ”1 need them more 
than you do I" Thus it goes with families, friends and 
the like. For God has said, ton that day a man will flee 
from his brother and from his mother and from his father 
and from his wife and from his children.) 1 [S 80:34-36] 

In the Sahlh is a narrative telling that people will 
be resurrected naked. C A’isha is reported to have said, 
"How shameful that they will see each other's nudity! " 

But the Prophet replied, /105/ "tEach person on that day 
will have his own concern, causing him to be indifferent 
[to others ] . f [S 80:37]" The meaning here is that the 
intensity of their terror and the depth of their distress 
prevents them from looking at one another. When the 
people are all established on an equal footing, there 
rises up before them a black cloud, raining down pages 
all around them. The page intended for the believer is 
made of a rose petal, and that intended for a kafir is 


DURRA / 87 

a leaf of the lote-tree. All have writing on them, 

and they flutter out in every direction, some to the 

right and others to the left. It is not random, however, 

for [a page] falls to a person's right or his left, 

according to His word, f...We send out for him on the 

day of resurrection a Book, which he finds spread out.? I 

[S 17:13] Even if one received it rolled up he would ' 

not find a place to spread it out because the creatures \ 

are all milling around, some of them attached to others. 

One of the pious forefathers, a lettered man, re- 
lated that people reach the Basin /106/ after passing 
the Sirat, but he is mistaken in what he said, because 
one who has already crossed the Sirat does not arrive 
at the Basin. It is on the seven bridges that most 
people perish. 

As for the seventy thousand who enter the Garden 
without reckoning, no balance is raised up for them, nor 
are they given records [of their deeds] . Rather, they 
get a certificate of innocence on which are written the 
words : "There is no God but God; Muhammad is the Messen- 

ger of God. This is the permit of Fulan ibn Fulan with 
which he can enter the Garden and is saved from the 
Fire." When God forgives him his sins, the angel takes 
him by his arm and shows him around the place of judg- 
ment, crying, "This is Fulan ibn Fulan. God has for- 
given him his sins and given him such bliss that he will , 

never again be miserable." Nothing more joyous than 
this standing has ever come to pass for him. 

This same is done with him who is among the 
wretched, and for him nothing more calamitous has ever 
happened than having the angel say, "This is Fulan ibn 
Fulan. He is reduced to such misery that never again 
will he know any happiness." /107/ Nothing worse than 
this standing has ever come to pass for him. 

On the day of resurrection the messengers will be 
on their thrones, and the Prophets and the °ulama' will 
be on smaller thrones somewhat below them. The throne 
of each messenger will be in proportion to his rank or 
standing. The °ulama' who have performed well will be 
on seats of light; the martyrs and the virtuous, such 
as the Qur'an readers and those who give the call to 
prayer, will be on a mound made of musk. These pious 
groups are the possessors of chairs or seats; they are 
the ones who ask intercession from Adam and Noah until 
they come at last to the Messenger of God. All of these 
we have mentioned will come in person, hastening on the 
day of resurrection. 

It is even said that the Qur'an itself comes on the 
day of resurrection in the form of a man with a beautiful 
face and figure. He seeks permission to intercede, and 
it is granted. In the same way Islam comes to argue its 
cause, and is victorious. (We have mentioned the story 
of Islam along with c Umar ibn al-Khattab in the Kitab 
al-Ih ya' . ) After it has pleaded its case, God joins 
whomever He wills to it, and Islam leads them to the 
Garden . 

In that same way the world appears in the form 
/108/ of a hoary- haired old woman, as ugly as can be. 

The people are asked, "Do you recognize her?” and they 
answer, "We take refuge in God from her!" Then they are 
told, "This is the world, over which you used to envy 
and hate each other." In like manner Friday comes in 
the image of a bride being led in procession, as lovely 
as can be. The believers will gather around her, and all 
about them are mounds of musk and camphor , and on them 
will shine a light dazzling all who are at the place of 
resurrection until she leads them into the Garden. 

Consider then — may God have mercy on you — the 
existence of the Qur'an and Islam and Friday as person- 
alities. On earth they are not understood to have 
individuality, but that belongs to the Malakuti world. 


The one who knows of this reality does not Profess the 
creation of the Qur'an, as did the Jahmiya, who were 
ignorant of its JabarutI /109/ existence as a person- 
ality- Islam has a MalakutI form, as do prayer, fasting 
and patience. He who knows that pays no heed to the one 
who argues that the soul is annihilated at death, ^ just 
because the Prophet prayed at the Day of Trench, "Oh 
our God, Lord of bodies consumed and transitory spirits!" 
and said to one who was visiting the tombs, "The dead man 
knows when the living visits him.” These statements are 
taken out of context, and for each there is a wide 
latitude and flexibility of interpretation. We have 
mentioned them in other works; here only an abridged 
version is intended in order to follow the path of the 
sunna 146 and avoid the innovations that occur m the 
s harT a a inspired by the satans of mankind. 

We beseech God /110/ for immunity from error, help 
and guidance, by His grace and His favor. t. . .Sufficient 
unto us is He, and most excellent is He in Whom we 
trust! [S 3:173] May God bless our master Muhammad, his 
family and his companions, and give them peace in abun- 
dance . 

The Precious Pearl is finished, written to unveil 
the knowledge of the hereafter, with praise to God, and 
by His grace and generosity. 

Praise be to God, Lord of all the worlds! 


■''As will be illustrated below, one of the rewards 
of virtue is the illumination of one's tomb during the 
period between death and resurrection. 

Kufr (and its agent kafir) and is lam (and its 
agent muslim) are very difficult to render by a one-word 
translation and will thus be kept in transliteration. 
Kufr is the act by which one rejects in ingratitude the 
signs and benefits of God and His messengers; islam is 
that act whereby one surrenders himself to God's will, 
and it at once signifies the community of those who 
have abandoned their own wills before God. 

3 S 3:185, 21:35 and 29:57. 

4 - — 

The term malakut is used four times in the Qur'an 

to mean power or dominion, e.g. "malakut al-samawat 
wa'l-ard” [S 6:75], but with no reference to the a alam 
al-malakut or jabarut. (J abarut also means might or 
greatness.) See Introduction, p. 7 , for a discussion 
of al-Ghazall's use of these terms. 

5 This seems to refer to the usual distinction drawn 
between humans, animals and birds; see Qur'an 6:38. 

^ J inn is the generic name for the class of beings, 
or spirits, acknowledged by the Qur'an to be created of 
fire and to come, like man, before God at the time of 
j udgment . 


Al-Ghazali consistently uses kursi rather than 
°arsh to refer to the Throne of God, whose size en- 
compasses the heavens and the earth. In the Qur’an 
both words are used, and despite the attempts of the 
early exegetes to distinguish them, as well as later 
theological refinements, they generally can be said to 



NOTES / 91 

be synonymous. (Kurs-L is the term used in Qur'an 2:256, 
the famous "Throne Verse" or ay at al-kursi .) A later 
distinction suggested that kursi refers to the seat 
itself, while a arsh includes the pavilion on which it 
is set. 

8 — _ 

Al-Ghazali in this work most commonly refers to 
God as al-Jalal and al-Jalil, both of which mean He Who 
is majestic, glorious and sublime. 

9 Cf . al-Baydawi, Tafsir I, 351 (ed. Fleischer) : 

"God stroked Adam' s back and extracted from his loins 
his whole posterity, which should come into the world 
until the Resurrection, one generation after another..." 

■^This day of testimony and witness to the Lordship 
of God by His creatures (who are, in fact, not yet 
existent) is understood to be a kind of primordial 
covenant between man and God. It has been a favorite 
theme of meditation and inspiration for religious poetry 
in the mystical tradition of Islam. Modern Qur'an 
commentary makes frequent reference to this verse, inter- 
preting it to mean that because people are created by 
nature to know the truth there is no escape from individ- 
ual accountability at the eschaton. 

■^The Qur'an states clearly that each individual 
life on earth is of a specific and appointed duration 
[ajal ] , as in 6:2. 

12 - 

While the Qur'anic usages of the terms nafs and 
ruh shows them to be quite distinctly different, they 
soon came to be interchanged in common parlance, both 
referring to that part of the human constitution distin- 
guishable from, though temporarily in union with, the 
body. Al-Ghazali with few exceptions refers to the soul 
[na/s] of the one who has died rather than to his spirit 
[ruh]. In this instance, however, he does use spirit; 

this apparent interchangeability is consistent with the 
Ih ya ' in which nafs and ruh are generally identified; 
see also pages 18, 20, 33, 34, 39 (also note 67) and 42 
for uses of ruh in this context. 

■^The abbreviation sl c m [salla Allahu a alayhi 
wa-sallama] is traditionally added at the mention of the 
Prophet Muhammad. In the same way the author adds, as 
is the practice among Muslim writers, a phrase such as 
"may He be glorified and exalted" at nearly every mention 
of God, "may God's peace be upon him" at the mention of 
a prophet or messenger and "may God be pleased with him" 
after the name of the first four caliphs. 

14 Ka c b al-Ahbar was a Yemeni Jew who converted to 
Islam under Abu Bakr or c Umar; he is generally regarded 
as the prime authority for Jewish-Muslim tradition. His 
teachings were oral, and he is commonly cited by tradi- 
tionists such as al-Tabari. 

15c A'isha was the daughter of Abu Bakr and was the 
Prophet's favorite wife (after Khadlja) , whom he married 
when she was still a child. She came to play a very 
important role in the life of the Islamic community and 
is the reputed source of many traditions about the 

"'■^These are the angels charged with casting the 
wicked into the Fire. They are described in Kitab ahwal 
al-qiyama (pp. 40-41) as follows: "There are nineteen 

letters in the basmala, and an equal number of zabanlya. 
They are called that because they work with their feet 
as well as their hands. They take ten thousand of the 
kuffar [rejectors] in each hand and each foot and are 
therefore able to punish forty thousand at one time.... 
Their eyes are like flashing lightening, their teeth are 
as white as cows' horns, their lips hang down to their 
feet and flames of fire issue from their mouths. Between 


their shoulders is the distance of one year. And God 
has not created even one iota of mercy in their hearts." 

(See p. 17 of this text for al-Ghazall's briefer descrip- 
tion. ) 

■^Iblls is the Muslim equivalent of the Devil. In 
the Qur'an he is the angel who refused to bow down before 
Adam as God commanded him to do, for which insubordina- 
tion he was banished from paradise and cursed by God. 

In some eschatological manuals it is said that the over- 
coming of Iblis is one of the signs of the imminence 
of the Hour; as the exemplar of disobedience to the 
command of God he is doomed to destruction as a first 
step in the unfolding of the drama of judgment. 

1 O , 

Fulan in Arabic is the term for any unspecified 
person, as we might in English say "so-and-so." This 
translation will retain the term in transliteration. 

■^Jesus is called al-masih , the Messiah, eleven 
times in the Qur'an, although there is no elaboration 
of the term and it clearly does not retain the conno- 
tation understood by orthodox Christianity. I 

2 ®Gabriel is one of the four archangels of Islam, 
whose primary function is to be the bearer of God's 
revelations to the prophets. 

2 ^Many traditions attributed to the Prophet make 
it clear that the dead person actually sees his soul 
depart, as the following cited by Mu. 11, 9 from Abu 
Hurayra: "Have you not noticed," said the Prophet, "how 

one stares fixedly when he dies?" "Oh yes," replied his 
listeners. "This is when he is watching his soul leave." 

22 Al-Amin , the trustworthy or faithful one, is a 
title generally given to the angel Gabriel. Note below j 

on page 17 of the text, however, that it is also used for 

NOTES / 93 

Daqya'Il, the angel who carries the soul of the profli- 
gate. This account of the ascent of Gabriel and the 
soul to the seven heavens, at the gate of each of 
which identification is sought and given, quite obviously 
parallels the ascent of Gabriel and the Prophet Muhammad 
in the traditions concerning the mi raj (see note 57) . 


There is not always unanimity among Muslim 
writers as to the location of particular angels in the 
various levels of heaven. Al-Qazwini's very interesting 
c Aja'ib al-makhluqat gives a lengthy tradition from Ibn 
c Abbas in which the angels of the seven heavens are in 
the form of cattle, hawks, eagles, green birds, hur 
al-°ayn , al-waladan (see note 69 below) , and the sons of 
Adam, or humans, respectively. The angels assigned to 
these groups, again respectively, are Isma c il, Mlkha'Il. 
Sa c adiya'Il, Salsa'il, Kalka'il, Samha'il, and Ruba'il. 

Of these only Salsa'll is mentioned by al-Ghazali, and 
he is placed not in the fourth but in the lowest heaven. 


At the first five of these heavens described, 
the soul is commended respectively for his attendance 
to the five responsibilities that make up the "pillars" 
[arkan\ of Islam, those duties enumerated by the Prophet 
as required of every Muslim: testimony of faith in God 

and His Messenger, prayer, almsgiving, fasting and 
pilgrimage. At the next two heavens he hears of his 
performance of additional meritorious acts. 


The Sidrat al-MuntahS is the name given to the 
lote-tree in the seventh heaven, whose shade covers the 
waters and the abode of the blessed. Some commentators 
assert that its root is in the sixth heaven and its limbs 
in the seventh, so great is its extent. Some Sufis 
claim to have attained to this height in the course of 
mystical experience, such as Abu Yazid who is reported 
to have said, "I mounted the mount of sincerity which 


NOTES / 95 

lifted me up until I reached [the station of] love. 

Then I mounted the mount of longing by which I attained 
the heavens, then I mounted the mount of affection by 
which I attained to Sidrat al-MuntahS ( Mahasin al-majalis , 
p. 77 as quoted in Qassim al-Samarrai, The Theme of 
Ascension [1968] , p. 234) . 

96 — — 

Abu Muhammad YahyS ibn Aktham (d. 242 hijri) was 

an orthodox Sunni and preserver of traditions known for 

his learning, authority, knowledge of jurisprudence and 

literary skill. He was influential over the caliph 

al-Ma'mun, and was appointed by him qadi al-qudat and 

administrator of public affairs. (Many traditions 

concerning this interesting figure are preserved in 

Ibn Kallikan's Biographical Dictionary , Vol . IV.) 


Islamic lore abounds with stories about people 
who have died and are seen in dreams by the living. 

Based on S 39:42 which describes God as taking unto 
Himself the souls of the sleepers and the dead, the 
sleep state has often been understood to be a time when 
the living and the dead actually share a common circum- 
stance, a time when the departed may communicate with 
the living through the medium of dreams. (See Ibn 
Qayyim, Kitab al-ruh , pp. 28 sqq.; al-Suyutl, Bushrd , 
pp. 44-55.) Al-Ghazali cites a number of these tales 
here; one may assume that in this text anyone seen in a 
dream is already dead. He himself is reported to have 
been seen in dreams numerous times after his death 
(Qazwlnl, Athar , pp. 277-78) . Belief in this phenomenon 
is still widely held, according to the Egyptian sociol- 
ogist Sayyid c Uways (H adith c an al-thagafa [1970] , al- 

_ _ • _ C“* T 

Khulud fi h ayat al-Misriyyin al-mu asirin [1972] . 

28 Abu Shihab al-Zuhri was a famous traditionist of 
the early Muslim community and a member of the court of 
the caliph c Abd al-Malik (d. 742) . 


c Urwa ibn al-Zubayr, one of the earliest tradi- 
tionists and an eminent authority in Medina, was a con- 
temporary of al-Zuhri; he was the brother of c Abd Allah 
ibn Zubayr, pretender to the caliphate. 

' 3 n — c — — 

Abu Yahyd Abd al-Rahim ibn Muhammad ibn Nubata 

(d. 946) was court preacher under Sayf al-Dawla and re- 
nowned in Islam for the style and excellence of his ser- 
mons . 

7] __ c _ — 

Mansur ibn Ammar ibn Kathir, a native of either 
Basrd or Khurasan, was a collector and reciter of tra- 
ditions in Iraq and Egypt. He was well-known for his 
eloquence in preaching as well as his wisdom and piety; 
he died in 225 hijrt. 

See below, pages 33 sqq. , for an explanation of 
the stations. 

■^Another of the four archangels, c Izra'Il is known 
as the angel of death. In this capacity he has final 
authority in the separation of the soul/spirit from the 
body, although it is God alone Who knows and signals the 
moment of each person's death. c Izra'Il moves around 
the earth with the speed of light, seizing the souls of 
those whose appointed time has come. 

^ 4 The description of the difference between the 
souls of the sinners and the faithful is drawn with even 
more vivid clarity in some of the traditions. Of. 

Mishkat I, 341: "But when an infidel is about to leave 
the world... the angel of death comes and sits at its 
head and says, 'Wicked soul, come out to displeasure 
from God.' Then it becomes dissipated in his body, and 
he seizes it, and when he does so they do not leave it 
in his hand for an instant, but put it in that hair-cloth 
and from it there comes forth a stench like the most 
offensive stench found on the face of the earth." 



This is a black basalt mountain north of Medina 
where the Prophet and his army lost a major battle to 
the Meccan Quraysh. 

36 _ _ 

Sijjin is mentioned in the Qur'an only in 83:7-8, 
tBut no! Truly the book of the transgressors is in 
B-ijjin, and what will explain to you what sijjin is?f 
and is considered to be one of the so-called "mysterious 
words" of that Book. It has been variously interpreted 
as the place in which Iblis is chained, and a rock under- 
neath the bottom of the earth. It is also used as a 
proper name for the region of the Fire itself. 

37 c- 

Mu adh ibn Jabal, a Meccan, was a young convert 
to Islam who participated in the army of the Prophet 
in the battle of Badr and other of the early encounters; 
because of his proficiency in the Qur'an he was sent by 
Muhammad as a teacher to Yemen and elsewhere. 

38 — t 

Al-Ghazali in this work does not dwell on a 
circumstance often elaborated in Islamic lore, that of 
the acute distress of the soul during and after the 
body's washing. It is quite clear that the dead are 
fully aware of the whole washing and shrouding process , 
as al-Suyuti supports by a variety of traditions in his 
BushrS (p. 31) . The general understanding is that the 
soul is intensely disturbed at its inability to partic- 
ipate in the affairs of the living, agonizing over its 
realization of final separation from things of this 
world. This is a theme one finds repeated over and 
again in different religious traditions. The belief 
that the soul remains in some way near the grave is a 
kind of remnant of pre-Islamic ideas, incorporated into 
the expanding fabric of Muslim theology concerning life 
after death. This particular set of beliefs is known 
as ahwal al-qubur, the states of the graves. 

NOTES / 97 

39 tc 

Rabi ibn Khaytham was an early adherent of Islam; 
he died in the year 70 hijri. 

4 ° A1 ~SiddIq [the righteous, honest] (or al-Sadlq) 
r& ^ ers to Abu Bakr, and al-Faruq [he who distinguishes 
from falsehood] to c Umar ibn al-Khattab, first and 
second caliphs of Islam respectively. c Uthman, next to 
be mentioned, was the third caliph. 


Compare the following from H aga ' ig ( is 3, 503) : 
"When the funeral bier has been placed on the edge of 
the grave, he is summoned by three (cries) : 'Oh son 

of man, you were on me (= the earth) laughing, and you 
have come to be inside me weeping; you were on me 
rejoicing and you have come to be inside me grieving; 
you were on me speaking and you have come to be inside 
me silent."' 


The history of accumulated layers of eschatolog- 
ical tradition is a perplexing study, the details of 
which are beyond this work. It seems, however, that 
Rum an is a somewhat later appellation for the angel who 
serves the function described here. There is a certain 
confusion between this angel and the two mentioned in the 
next paragraph as the disturbers of the grave, which is 
not entirely cleared up in al-Ghazall's treatment of the 
sequence of events . 

43c Abd Allah ibn Mas c ud was one of the first of the 
Meccans to accept the teachings of the Prophet and is 
famous for openly reciting the Qur’an in Mecca. He 
became an authority on Qur'an and tradition (d. 652-3?). 

44 . 

At this point in the text the angels are not 
named, but it is clear from the next several pages that 
they are Munkar and Nakir, the interrogating angels of 
the grave who are mentioned frequently in later Islamic 
texts, although they are referred to only once in 


NOTES / 99 

canonical tradition and not at all in the Qur'an. The 
order of appearance of these angels is somewhat difficult 
to follow here, as they are introduced at this point, 
then announced again on page 25 by the personification 
of the works of the believer. The set of beliefs in 
Islamic theology dealing with the punishment meted out 
by these angels is called c adhab al-qabv, the chastise- 
ment of the tomb. 

^ a Ulama’ , the plural of a alim [one who has knowl- 
edge], refers to that body of scholars in Islam who have 
jurisprudence over questions of law and theology. It 
will be rendered in transliteration in this translation. 

^There are many traditions that tell about the 
sequence of events after death in essentially the same 
order as al-Ghazall has described them. Often the 
opening of a window or gate in the top of the tomb is 
followed by the expressed wish of the dead soul to have 
the interim pass quickly, as in A.b.H. IV, 296: "And 

when he sees what is in the Garden he says, 'Lord hasten 
the hour of resurrection that I may return to my people 
and my possessions!', but he is told, 'Abide here!'" 

. 7 f 

’'The personification of one’s deeds in Islamic 
tradition may well be simply another instance of the 
tendency to personify the abstract for didactic purposes. 
On the other hand, it is similar enough to the Zoroas- 
trian concept of the female form of one's good and bad 
deeds coming on the third day after death that one might 
well look for influence here. 

iS Al-Sa°a, the Hour, is a term commonly used for 
the day of judgment, specifically the time when humanity 
will be called to account. Al-qiyama refers to the 
literal rising up at the resurrection, ba°th signifies 
the calling forth for judgment, and hashr is the gather- 
ing together. Al-ma°ad (the return) is the general 

term used by theologians for the entire process. 


This tree grows at the bottom of the Fire and 
is extremely bitter and unpleasant, with fruits like the 
heads of devils. (See Qur'an 37:62-66). 

50 See Introduction, p. 5. 


This is a common theme in the traditions; Tir. 
8:23 records the Prophet as having said, "He for whom 
there is wailing [nawh] is punished in accordance with 
the wailing done for him" and that of the four things 
left over from the Jahillya (the period of "ignorance” 
before the revelation of the Qur'an) , one is wailing. 

The primary offence seems to come not in lamentation 
as such, but in carrying to excess the demonstration of 
grief. "Loud lamenting is forbidden," says the Kitab 
ah wal al-qiyama (p. 30) , "but there is no harm in crying 
over the dead, although it is better to be patient." 


This term has a range of meaning from heretic 
in the general sense in Islamic law to a Muslim who 
secretly professes the dualist principles of the 
Manichaeans. The latter is intended here, the reference 
being particularly to the rejection of the doctrine of 
the resurrection. 

53 The word translated as individuality is al-°ayn, 
literally the eye or the source. Here and in similar 
usage in this text it refers to the essence of one's 
personality . 


As Islamic theology and tradition developed, 
different and sometimes conflicting ideas concerning 
the fate of the individual between death and resurrection 
caused the total picture to become somewhat confused. 

Some of the variations are evident in this text. In 
general al-Ghazall supports the idea that the souls of 


both righteous and wicked remain in the grave until the 
Hour. The tradition here cited, a very well-known one 
based on the Qur'anic assurance that those slain in the 
way of God are not dead but are still living [2:154], is 
an allusion to only one category of believer. This 
became expanded, however, so that one finds evidence in 
later traditions of the Prophet's having said that all 
souls of believers will be birds in the Garden awaiting 
the day of resurrection. Other references suggest that 
the mu'minun will be on the right hand of Adam, at the 
Sidrat al-MuntahS (see note 25) , in the seventh heaven, 
at the gates of the courtyard of the Garden, by the well 
of Zamzam. (See Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziya, Kitab al-ruh , 
pp. 134-73.) 

^See Note 40 above. 

^^Husayn, the second son of the Prophet's daughter 
— * c — 

Fatima and his cousin Ali, was massacred with his band 
of followers at Karbala in Iraq in 680, an event still 

— Q 

commemorated with great sorrow especially by Shi a 

57 This is a reference to the night journey [isra’~\ 
and ascension [mi°raj] to heaven referred to in Qur'an 
17:1 and greatly elaborated by Muslim tradition (see 
note 22). In most of the traditions about the mi a raj 
the Prophet is said to have met with others of God's 
messengers in the respective heavens and with Abraham 
in the seventh. The encounter with Jesus is usually 
said to have been in the second heaven, although al- 
Ghazali here places him in the fifth. 

c o 

Literally the well-populated house, referring to 
the Ka c ba (Qur'an 52:4), or in this instance the celestial 


archtype of the earthly Ka ba. 

Respectively these titles refer to Abraham, Moses 

NOTES / 101 

Jesus, Adam and Muhammad. 

6 °The Persian mystic Abu Yazid al-Bistaml (d. 261/ 
875) ; see Note 25 above. 

6 ^There is some real disagreement in the traditions 

as to whether or not the dead will actually be recognized 

by other dead in the period before the resurrection. In 

the BushrjS, for instance, al-Suyutl cites several hadiths 

* — — • 
similar to this narrative of al-Ghazali’s in which 

spirits of believers recognize the newly dead and ask 

him about their friends and families, then adds some that 

indicate that even when members of families meet they 

will be as strangers (p. 29) . In the same way some 

traditions insist that the dead in the graves know those 

of the living who stop to greet them, while others say 

that they only have this recognition on Friday 1 ( Bushrd , 

pp. 58-59). 

6 2 

The region to which the profligate is sent is 
known by various terms in Islam, some of them pointedly 
graphic. Hawiya, used here, means literally an abyss 
or deep hole whose bottom is endless . The most common 
term is al-nar , translated as the Fire. Jahannam, hell 
or the hell-fire with which God will punish the wicked 
and disobedient in the next life, is actually a proper 
name whose origin has been variously understood to be 
Arabic, Persian or Hebrew. Another of the proper names 
of the place of punishment is saqar, the fire of the 
world to come. Some say that it is a foreign word, and 
others that it is from the Arabic, meaning the sun 
scorched or burned him. (See Lane, Book I, pts . 2,4,8.) 

63 The Kharijites were one of the earliest sects of 
Islam, so-called because they seceded from the party of 

C T 

All. They are noted for their position on questions of 
the caliphate, faith and works, and legitimate member- 
ship in the Muslim community. 


NOTES / 103 

®^See Qur'an 2:30-34. 

65 See Note 10 above. 

66 Barzakh is a term that actually carries several 
possible meanings. Literally it is a separation or 
obstruction. It occurs in the Qur'an three times 
(23:100, 25:53 and 55:20) and has been interpreted in 
eschatology as the barrier separating the Fire and 
Garden and/or the interval between the earthly death and 
the resurrection. For an excellent treatment of the 
various occurrences and usages of barzakh see R. Eklund's 
Life Between Death and Resurrection according to Islam 
(Uppsala, 1941) . 

67 While all living things participate in the initial 
events of this day, God has breathed His spirit only 
into human beings and angels . 

This term, al-qumqam, is given in Ma luf's al- 
Munjid as meaning the sea, or the greater part of it; 
its use here suggests a kind of farthest limit. 

69 The hur are the beautiful chaste maidens of the 
Garden, named for their startling black eyes, who wait 
as rewards for virtuous male Muslims. They are specif- 
ically referred to in a number of passages in the Qur'an. 
Less clearly identified in the Qur’an but adopted into 
later tradition are the young men, also to be companions 
for the virtuous (although never suggested as partners 
for women as the hur are for men) . 

7 ®It is interesting to note that some of the earliest 
Qur'anic references to death and resurrection are in the 
context of a dead land coming to life after receiving 
water from heaven (43:11, 35:9, 7:57). 


Cf. Mishkat II, 1165: "The only thing in a man 

which does not decay is one bone, the tail-bone, from 
which the whole frame will be reconstituted on the day 
of resurrection." 

72 - - 

Israfil is a third archangel (Jibril and Izra'Il 
have already been introduced; Mikal is the fourth) of 
enormous proportions. The first to be resurrected, 
according to tradition, he blows the horn described below 
and also announces the record of each individual as it is 
inscribed on the Guarded Tablet. 


The rock of the Temple of Jerusalem, over which 
the Dome of the Rock was built. 

7 ^See Note 67 above. 

75 The Arabic reads bi-sahira , which in most English 
versions is translated as awake or awakened. Al-Ghazall 
here, however, indicates that it refers to the leveling 
of the earth, which accords with al-Baydawi's understand- 
ing that sahira means a flat plain. ( Anwar al-tanzll , 
p. 729) 

76 — 

Abu Sufyan, a caravan merchant, was one of the 
most influential of the tribe of Quraysh and a leader in 
the opposition to the Prophet. Under circumstances 
concerning which fact and legend are impossibly inter- 
mixed, he converted to Islam and later became a governor 
under Abu Bakr. 


The stress on proper shrouding of the dead is 
another recurrent theme in the hadiths, as in Mu. II, 49 
in which the Prophet, after having given specifics of 
burial, reasserts, "If any of you enshroud your brother, 
let him do it in the best possible manner!" 


7 8 

That is, perhaps the Prophet meant not that Moses 
will avoid the circumstance of having no body, but rather 
that he may be exempt from the terrible dread that will 
take hold of all souls at that time, which al-Ghazali 
goes on to describe. 


See Note 40 above. 

80 A1-Ghazall 's amplification of the Qur’anic 
reference to one's light here is an example of the 
frequent use of light imagery in his writings. Actually 
somewhat gnostic in this understanding, he generally 
identifies light with knowledge and darkness with igno- 
rance. The real light, of course, is al-Haqq or God, 
and here the degree of light accompanying each individual 
is in direct proportion to his knowledge of and faith in 
God. The light one possesses is the determinant of the 
speed with which he can pass over the bridge of Sirat 
(see Note 123 below) , those with intense light flying 
over in an instant and those with very weak light crawl- 
ing and groping across . 

Q1 Al-Mahshar , literally the place of congregation, 
is used for the place and time of the great gathering- 
together of all creatures at the resurrection. 

8 ^It is interesting to compare this with the legend- 
ary experience of the young Siddhartha Gautama (who later 
became the Buddha) in which his first sight of old age, 
disease , death and poverty led him to the great renun- 

Q O __ _ 

Gharih al-rawaya, which probably refers to a 
hadith with an unusual chain of reporters, i. e. one 
classified as "strange" with regard to its isnad. 

84 In the verse, this phrase follows directly the 
one quoted just above. 

NOTES / 105 

85 "r 

Al-Karim, another of the names of God. 

86 o— 

The ud is a musical instrument similar to a lute. 


. This is apparently a reference to the animal 

formed of one's deeds on which he rides at the day of 
resurrection. See above pages 49-50. 


This sweating is greatly elaborated in some of 
the traditions, as when A.b.H. (IV, 157) cites the Proph- 
et as having said that when the sun gets close to the 
earth people will sweat, and they will be in sweat up to 
their ankles, calves, knees, rumps, waists, shoulders 
and mouths, and some will be entirely covered by sweat. 


The singular minbar is most commonly translated 
pulpit, and in the mosque is the rostrum from which the 
Friday sermon is delivered. To avoid confusion with 
this image, the word has been translated in this text 
as throne, and refers to the station or platform of some 
of God's chosen at the place of resurrection, as will 
be illustrated in the text. 

90 Abu C Ali al-Fudayl ibn c Iyad (d. 803) , a disciple 
of Sufyan al-Thawrl, was one of the early Sufis as well 
as a traditionist . He was noted for his asceticism and 
other-worldly concerns. 


Among the many delights of the Garden described 
in various places in the Qur'an, the flowing rivers are 
conspicuous for the frequency of their mention. See, 
for example, 47:15, f [Here is] a parable of the Garden 
which has been promised to the righteous, in which are 
rivers of pure water and rivers of milk whose taste never 
changes and rivers of wine, a delight for those who drink 
thereof, and rivers of clear honey... J . 


The role of children in the Garden is seldom, if 


NOTES / 107 

ever, articulated as an item of doctrine. There are many 
traditions that support the idea that children will be 
present in some capacity. "On the day of resurrection 
the child of the woman who has just given birth will drag 
her by his navel cord into the Garden." (Tay. No. 578) 
"Every child born in Islam is in the Garden full and 
happy, and says, 'Oh God, bring to me my parents!'" 

( Bushrci, p. 75) The traditions, of course, are replete 
with descriptions of the sensual joys (only occasionally 
understood allegorically) of the hereafter; a commonly 
cited hadlth is that found in A.b.H. Ill, 80: "If the 

believer desires a son in the Garden, conception and 
birth will take place in one hour.” This is often accom- 
panied, however, by the assertion that one will not so 
desire, and even that "The people of the Garden will 
have no children." (Khan, H usn al-uswa , p. 219) 

93 - - 

The naqur is mentioned in the Qur'an only in 
74:8-9, fFor then the horn will be sounded, and that day 
will be a difficult dayf. The trumpet is mentioned as 
al-sur in 6:73, 23:101, 39:68 and 69:13. 


^Qur'an 2:35-36. 


In Islam a distinction is drawn between a prophet 
[nabiy] and a messenger [rasul\ . All messengers are 
prophets, meaning that they are bearers of God's message 
to men, but the rasul has a wider significance. There 
are twenty-eight prophets mentioned in the Qur'an, while 
the following are accorded the status of rasul; Noah, 
Lot, Ishmael, Moses, Shu c ayb, Hud, Salih, Jesus and 
Muhammad . 

9{ *The Qur'anic picture of Noah does not show him 
to be culpable in any way; in fact he himself is greatly 
put upon by the torments of his countrymen. The allusion 
here seems to be his having said, as in sura 23:26, {My 

Lord help me, for they accuse me of deceit! f, after which 
God taught him how to build the ark. 

97 Qur'an 6:76-8 indicates that Abraham mistook a 
star, the moon and the sun in turn for his Lord. 

Q O 

Years here refers to the time of the drought; 
see Qur'an 7:130. 

99 Qur'an 28:15-21 relates the story of Moses 
(accidently) killing an Egyptian who was fighting with 
an Israelite. 

100 This refers, of course, to the deification of 
Jesus and the near-deification of his mother Mary by the 
Christians, always anathema to Muslims. 

101 The seal [ khatim ] is the traditional designation 
of the Prophet Muhammad as the last in the line of 
prophets. See Qur'an 33:40. 

1 n o 

When the Prophet joined the battle against the 
Quraysh near Uhud (see Note 35 above) he was struck 
in the face by a rock which knocked out his tooth. 

^■"Muhammad was frequently accused by his adver- 
saries of being a soothsayer [ kahin ] or of being majnun , 
inspired by the jinn rather than having received revela- 
tions from God (e.g., Qur’an 15:6). 

104 A1-Siddiq in this instance refers not to Abu Bakr 
(see above Note 40) but to Joseph, as he was addressed 
by the cupbearer in sura 12:46. 

105 The question of whether or not anyone can mediate 
or intercede with God on the day of judgment was one of 
the most hotly debated issues of early Islamic theology. 
For the most part the Qur'an insists that no one can 
intercede on that day, but orthodoxy finally accepted the 


mediation of the Prophet, as expressed in the Wa s iyat 
Abi Hanifa , Article 25: "The intercession of our Proph- 

et Muhammad (may Allah give him blessing and peace) is 
a reality for all those who belong to the inhabitants of 
Paradise, even if they should be guilty of mortal sins." 
(Wensinck, The Muslim Creed , p. 130) 

106 Zabibatan signifies the two small black spots 
found above the eyes of serpents , or two collections of 
foam which form on the sides of its mouth when it is 
angry. (Lane, Book I, pt. 3) 

107 I.e., judge their merits and demerits (for they 
have been waiting for the judgment for a very long time) . 

10 8 

From this point on in the text, and in the pro- 
gression of events, distances are measured in terms of 
time rather than space. 


The one [to be] slaughtered. The story of the 
would-be sacrifice of Abraham's son is a popular one in 
Islam, but most Muslims assert that it was Ishmael who 
volunteered himself to be the sacrifice. He is thus 
called the slaughtered, although a ram was substituted. 

See Qur'an 19:54, {And mention in the Book Isma c il, for 
he was true to his promise ... f 

1 ‘*' 0 This rather surprising occurrence is based on 
the Qur'an verse that al-Ghazall cites immediately below. 
It is specified in a variety of traditions, including 
the one he notes of al-Bukharl (65:68, 97:24), that of 
Ahmad ibn Hanbal (III, 16) and others. It is put into 
context in a long tradition cited by TayalisI (pp. 289-90) 
in which God speaks first with the misled peoples of the 
Book and then with the true worshippers of God at the 
day of resurrection. They assure Him that they have lived 
righteously on earth and are now awaiting God. He asks 
if there will be a sign by which He can be recognized. 

NOTES / 109 

and when given an affirmative reply proceeds to provide 
that sign by uncovering His leg. 

' L '*''*'A1-Ghazali is here supporting the orthodox 
conclusion that (despite the assertions of the Mu c tazila 
and many of the philosophers) the specifics of the day 
of resurrection are not to be understood allegorically. 

112 In the philosophical sense [a°rad ] . 

^^While the beasts and birds are present at the 
day of judgment, actual settlement is made only between 
those animals that have done harm to each other (as 
specifically stated here, with their horns) , and then all 
fade away into dust. 

114 c- 

The peoples of Ad and Thamud (mentioned in the 
next paragraph) are referred to frequently in the Qur'an 
as examples of those who suffered God's punishing wrath, 
as a result of their rejection of the message of the 
prophets Hud and Salih, sent to them respectively (see 
Note 95 above) . 

11 ^The text is faulty at this point and it seems 
impossible to ascertain the particular peoples to whom 
the author is referring. Gautier, who consulted several 
manuscripts in the preparation of his French translation 
(see Introduction, pp. 9-10) , concludes that "Les noms de 
ces peuples sont intelligibles et les mss. prdsentent 
des lecons trSs vari6es dont on peut affirmer pourtant 
l'origine commune." ( La Perle Prgcieuse , p. 62, n. 5) 

116 Muslim writers have generally used the name 
Tubba c for the kings of the Himyarites, the dynasty that 
succeeded Saba in South Arabia after the destruction of 
the famous Dam of Ma c rib. The Qur'an speaks twice of 
the companions of al-Rass (25:38, 50:12), but it is not 
clear exactly to whom this refers; some have assumed it 


NOTES / 111 

means the people of Shu c ayb, while others suggest the 
town of al-Rass in the center of the Arabian Penninsula. 

117 - - - 

Tabut al-sakina i also used as a construct to 
mean purity of the heart. This person here indicated is 
identified below as Uriah, whom David sent into battle 
so that he could marry his wife Bathsheba (a non- 
Qur'anic legend found in the Old Testament in II Samuel) . 


That is , in retribution for the wrong David did 
to Uriah. 


The traditions are replete with descriptions 
particularly of the hur, black-eyed maidens awaiting in 
pearl-encrusted domiciles, who will be the reward of 
the virtuous in the Garden. Since up to one hundred a 
night are promised to the faithful, one can assume that 
it is not intended that David should be totally deprived 
of these pleasures. 

120 — <"*— c — f _ 

Abu Sa id Abd al-Malik ibn Qurayb al-Asma i 

(d. 828) was a famous philologist of the Arabic language, 
skilled in the study of grammar, lexicography and poetry. 

121 - 

A Cf. Qur’an 96:15. 


See Note 52 above. 

123 - 

Al-Sirat as meaning path or way is mentioned 
numerous times in the Qur'an. Only two of these refer- 
ences, S 36:66 and 37:23 have normally been cited as 
supportive of the idea that there is a bridge to or 
over Hell (the latter reference is to the sirat al- 
jahim ) . Tradition came to include passage over this 
bridge for both the saved and the condemned as a neces- 
sary step in the events of the day of resurrection. For 
the faithful the way is broad and passage is easy; for 
the wrong-doers the bridge becomes razor-thin and finer 
than a hair, from which they fall into the Fires of 

punishment. See A.b.H. II, 533 sq. 


Literally "the high places", this is the title 
of the seventh sura of the Qur'an and is used specif- 
ically in 7:46 sqq. where the companions of the heights 
[ashab al-a°raf\ are described. The meaning of al-a°raf 
has long been disputed; the companions have been vari- 
ously identified as angels, martyrs, the children of 
Muslims, etc. The most common explanation is that they 
are persons whose good and bad deeds are equal, and that 
the heights serves as a kind of limbo between the Garden 
and the Fire. 


This work to which the author refers is appar- 
ently not extant; there is no mention of it in Brockel- 
mann nor in other listings of the works of al-Ghazall 
available to us. 

126 — 

The Basin, not mentioned in the Qur'an, is 

another of the eschatological realities described in the 
traditions. Al-Ghazali gives some suggestion of its 
dimensions here; it is reputed to be the place where 
the Prophet will intercede for liis community on the day 
of resurrection, as the author suggests at the end of 
the paragraph . 


See sura 108:1, tWe have given to you al- 
kawthar.f Thus mentioned with no elaboration in the 
Qur'an, this river is described in the hadiths as a 
river of the Garden shown to the Prophet on his night 
journey and ascent. (It is also sometimes identified 
with the Basin of the Prophet.) Later traditions 
elaborate earlier descriptions by saying it has banks 
of gold and a bed of precious jewels. More symbolic 
interpretation understands Kawthar to be the source of 
God's beneficience and mercy. 


For example Solomon and Job, as in Qur'an 38:30, 

44 . 


Some later commentators have said that Shu c ayb, 
mentioned three times in the Qur'an (7:85-93, 11:84-95 
and 29:36-37), is to be identified with Moses' father-in- 
law Jethro, although this is not generally accepted; in 
the Qur'an he is a prophet (and also a messenger), after 
Hud and Salih, sent to Midi an. He is reputed later to 
have gone blind. 

130c - c - 

Abd Allah ibn Abbas, the Prophet's cousin, son 
of the progenitor of the c Abbasid line and a much 
venerated traditionist. His ability in exposition was 
often lauded, as in the famous saying of Ibn Mas c ud, 
"Indeed, Ibn c Abbas is the interpreter [ tarjuman ] of 
the Qur ' an ! " 

333 The umma or community of the Prophet. 

132c -r t - 

Aqil ibn Abi Talib was the older brother of 
c *r * 

All (see Note 133 below) . He is best known through the 
sources as an authority on geneologies and Quraysh 
history, and as a powerful and eloquent speaker. 


Cousin of the Prophet, fourth caliph of Islam 
and the first of the c Alid imams of the party of the 
Shi a. He married the Prophet's daughter Fatima and 
received from Muhammad the surname Abu Turab. 


It is interesting to note here that the stress 
is less on the virtue of charity, according to which one 
might expect the Messiah to give his mug and comb to 
the needy, than on simple austerity. 

Al-kaba ' ir [sing, kabira] is the term accepted 
in Muslim theology for major transgressions, or grave 
sins (based on Qur'an 42:37) . There has seldom been 

NOTES / 113 

absolute consensus among the theologians, however, 
as to precisely which acts fall into this category, or 
what is the final fate of those who commit such trans- 
gressions. One act, though, is universally accepted 
in Islam as kabira, that of shirk or association of 
anything with God. 

136 — 

Al-Hasan al-Basri, a first century ascetic 
and traditionist, is particularly well-known for his 
piety and is often considered a forerunner of the Sufis. 
He is renowned for his extreme terror of the punishments 
of the hereafter, which is reflected in this wish to 
be the one who suffers only for a thousand years rather 
than more. 


Meaning literally dirt or filth, uff is used 
as an expression of annoyance, deep disgust or even 

138 — 

Malik is the angel who oversees the region of 
the Fire; see Qur'an 43:77. 


Literally "the order of arrangement". 


Quite a few traditions mention the eating of 
this fish liver (as A.b.H. Ill, 108: "The first thing 
that the people of the Garden will eat is the abundance 
of fish liver...") without identifying the fish as the 
creature on which the earth or earths are found. Gautier 
(p. 84) notes a tradition cited by Ibn Qutayba as saying 
that "the earth is on the back of a fish, and the people 
of the Garden eat of its liver upon first entering [the 
Garden ] . " 

141 . a 

Given here as ala qamati Adam, this tradition 
is sometimes rendered by °ald surati, as in that cited 
by Pocock in which the height of Adam's form is given 
as sixty cubits. (Twells, The Theological Works of the 


Learned Dr. Pocock , Vol. I, p. 235) 

■'"^The Arabic reads ma a mura, the built-up. It is 
possible that the text is misprinted and that the 
original was ma a mula , assumed. 

143 See page 81 above. 

144 Named after Jahm ibn Safwan (executed in 745) , 
the Jahmiya shared many articles of faith with the 
Mu C tazila, including the denial of anthropomorphic 
attributes of God and affirmation of the createdness of 
the Qur'an. 

145 Known as the siege of Medina, or the battle of 
the trench [khandaq] , this skirmish began in March of 
627. It was a significant victory of the followers of 
Muhammad over their Meccan adversaries, achieved through 
the strategem of digging a trench as fortification around 
their army. 

-*- 4 ®Literally custom or way, sunna most commonly 
refers to those practices that the Prophet followed or 
advised his community to follow. Technically it includes 
his acts, words, and the things to which he gave approv- 
al . 

147 See Qur'an 6:112, tThus We made for every proph- 
et an enemy — satans of men and jinn...f 


-al-Bayjuri, Ibrahim. Sharh al-Bayjur! c ala ' 1- jawhara . 
Cairo, 1964. 

al-Baydawi, c Abd Allah b. c Umar. Anwa r al-tanzil wa- 
asrar al-ta'wil . Cairo: Kutub al-Jumhuriya al- 

Arabiya, n.d. 

Brockelmann, Carl. Geschichte der arabischen Litteratur . 
Zweite den Supplementbaenden angepasste Auflage. 
Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1937-1942, 3 voll . [GAL] 

al-Bukhari, Abu c Abd Allah Muhammad b. Isma c Il. Al-Jami c 
al- sahih . Cairo: Dar Ihya' Kutub al-Sunna, 1966, 4 

voll. [Bu.] 

Ad-Dourra al-Fakhira: La Perle Precieuse de Ghazali. 

Traite d'Eschatologie Musulmane, avec une traduction 
frangaise par Lucien Gautier. Leipzig: Otto 

Harrassowitz , 1925 (r^impression de 1 'Edition 
Geneve 1878) . 

Eklund, Ragnar. Life Between Death and Resurrection 

According to Islam . Uppsala: Almqvist and Wiksells 

Boktryckeri-A.-B. , 1941. 

Fa'iz, Ahmad. al-Yawm ail-akhir fi z ilal al-Qur'an . 
Beirut, 1975. 

al-Ghazall, Abu Hamid Muhammad b. Muhammad. Ihya' c ulum 
• • • — 

al-din . Cairo, 1334 hijri,A voll. 

Ibn Hanbal , Ahmad b. Muhammad. Musnad. Cairo: al- 

c * - 

Matba a al-Maymaniya, 1875, 6 voll. [A.b.H . ] 

Ibn Khallikan, Ahmad b. Muhammad. Wafayat al-a c yan 

wa-anba' abna' al-zaman . Wm. Macguckin de Slane, 
Transl. Paris: Oriental Translation Fund of 

G.-B. and Ireland, 1843-1861, 4 voll. 




Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziya. Hadi al-arwa h. Cairo: Maydan 

al-Azhar, n.d. 

. Kitab al-ruh . Cairo: Dar al-Ma c arif, 1357 

hijrZ . 

Khalifa, Muhammad c Abd al-Zahir. Kitab al-dar al- 
• • 

barzakhiya . Cairo: Matba c at Hasan, 1973. 

Khan, Sadlq Hasan. H usn al-uswa . Cairo, n.d. 

Kitab ahwal al-qiyama . An anonymous text translated by 
M. Wolff as Muhammedanische Eschatologie . Leipzig: 
F. A. Brockhaus, 1872. 

Kitab haqa ' ig al-daqa'iq of Abu'l-Layth al-Samarqandi . 
Translation in part with accompanying explanation 
by John Macdonald in Islamic Studies 3 (1964) and 
4 (1965). 

Lane, E. W. An Arabic-English Lexicon . London: 

Williams and Norgate, 1863-93, 1 vol . in 8 . 

Lazarus-Yafeh, Hava. Studies in Al-Ghazzali . Jerusalem: 
Magnes Press, The Hebrew University, 1975. 

Llmud, Hamid Mahmud. Jawhar al-tawhld. Cairo, 1974. 

• • • 

Mishkat al-ma s abih . Edition and translation by James 

Robson of al-Baghawi's collection of the traditions 

of Muhammad. Lahore: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, 1965, 

2 voll. 

Muslim b. al-Hajjaj, Abu ' 1-Husayn. Sahlh Muslim . Cairo: 
Dar Ihya' al-Kutub al- c ArabIya, 1955-56, 5 voll. 

QazwinI , Zakariya' Muhammad b. Muhammad. Athar al-bilad . 
Ed. F. Wiistenfeld. GOttingen, 1847. 

Kitab c aja'ib al-mukhluqat wa-ghara'ib al- 
maw judat . Ed. F. Wiistenfeld. GSttingen, 1849. 

Qutb, Sayyid. Mashahid al-qiyama fi'l-Qur'an . Cairo: 

Dar al-Ma c arif, 1961. 

al-Samarrai, Qassim. The theme of Ascension in Myst ical 

Writings . Baghdad: National Printing and Publishing 

Co., 1968 

Smith, Margaret, Al-Ghazali the Mystic . London: Luzac 

and Co., 1944. 

al-Suyuti , al-Imam Jalal al-Din. Bushrg al-ka'Ib bi - 
liqa 1 al-hablb . Cairo, 1969. 

al-Tayalisi, Muhammad b. Ja c far. Musnad . Haydarabad: 

* C * — p _ _ _ 

Matba at Majlis Da'irat al-Ma arif al-Nizamiya, 1904. 

al-Tirmidhi , Abu c isa Muhammad b. C lsa. al-Jami c al-s ahlh. 
Cairo: Matba c at al-Halabl, 1937, 2 voll. 

c Uways , Sayyid. H adith c an al-thagafa . Cairo, 1970. 

. Al-Khulud fi h ayat al-mi s riyin al-mu c asirln . 

Cairo: al-Hay'a al-Misrlya al- c Amma li'l-Kitab, 


Wensinck, A. J. Concordance et indices de la tradition 
musulmane . Leiden: Brill, 1936-69, 7 voll. 

. The Muslim Creed . New York: Barnes and Noble, 

Inc. , 1965. 


(Numbers refer to pages of the 
than of the translation.) 

Abu Bakr (al-Siddiq, 
al-Sadlq) , 21 ' 33, 79 

Abu Safyan, 43 
Abu Yazid, 34 
c Ad, 72 

Adam, 2,3,4, 34, 37, 59-60, 

63, 78, 79, 81, 94, 102,107 

c A’isha, 5, 15-16, 104 

c Alam al-Jabarut, 2, 108-9 

Alam al-Malakut, 2, 4, 21, 

35, 70, 103, 108-9 

c - 

Ali ibn Abi Talib, 87 
Al-Amin, 11-18 
Amina, 29 

Aqil ibn Abi Talib, 86 
A C raf, 82 
Asmai, 78 
Ayyub (Job), 86, 89 
barzakh , 38 
Bayt al-Ma C mur, 34 
Bayt al-Maqdis, 42 

Daqya'il, 17-18 

Da'ud (David), 71, 74-6,85 

Day of the Trench, 109 
c — 

Fudayl ibn Iyad, 56 

al-Faruq ( C Umar ibn al-Khattab) 
21, 33, 45, 107 

Harun, (Aaron), 37, 67, 86 

al-Hasan al-Basri, 95 

hawd, 82, 105 

hawiya, 36 

Hud, 72 

hur, 40, 75 

manuscript text rather 

Hasayn, 34 

Iblis, 8 

Ibn Abbas, 86 

Ibn Mas C ud, 22 

Ibn Nubata, 16 

Ibrahim (Abraham), 25, 27, 
34, 61, 63, 67, 73, 88 

Idris (Enoch) , 37 

Injll (Gospel) , 70-71, 76-7 

isS (Jesus), 8, 34, 62-3, 
67-8, 71, 76-7. 78, 88, 

Islam, 16, 25, 26, 49, 61, 
99, 107-8 

Israfil, 42 

C Izra'il, 17 

Jahmiya, 108 

Jibril (Gabriel), 9, 11-18, 
71 sqq . 

jinn, 2, 6, 23, 46, 54, 63, 
78, 103 

Ka c b al-Ahbar, 5, 45 
Ka C ba, 25, 26 
karubiyun , 2 
Kawthar , 8 2 
Kharijites, 36 

lawh al-mahfuz , 70-71 
Malik, 98-99 

Mansur ibn Ammar, 16-17 

Maryam (Mary), 62, 67-8,76 

Mount of Uhud, 17 

Mu adh ibn Jabal, 20 
Munkar, 25 sqq. 



Mus£ (Moses), 9, 34, 37, 45, 
46, 61-3, 67, 71, 73-4 

Nakir, 25 sqq. 
naqur , 58 



, 60-61, 


71-2, 87, 


Qur ' 

an, 3, 

25, 26, 



78, 99 

, 107-8 

Rabi c ibn Khaytham, 21 
Ramadan, 99 

Rashid ibn Sulayman, 86 
Rass, 73 
Ruman, 22-23 

Salih, 72 

Salih al-Muzanni, 30 
Salsa'll, 12 
al-shaytan, 5 
Shu c ayb, 85 

al-Siddlq, al-Sadlq (Abu Bakr), 
21, 33, 79 

Sidrat al-MuntahS, 14 
Si j jin, 18 

Sirat, 82-4, 86, 106 
Sulayman (Soloman) , 88-9 

Yusuf (Joseph), 63, 86, 90 

zabanZya, 7, 17, 18, 67, 
79, 98-9 

Zaqqum, 25 

Zindiqs, 31, 81 

Zabur (Psalms), 70-1, 74-6 

al-Zuhri, 15-6 

al-Tabut, 75 

Tawrat (Torah), 37, 61, 70-71, 
74, 77 

Thamud , 7 2 

Tubba c , 73 

c Umar ibn al-Khattab, 21, 33, 
45, 107 

Uriya' (Uriah), 75-6 
G Uthman, 21 

wuldan, 40, 75 

Yahya (John) , 87 

YahyS ibn Aktham al-Qadi, 15